By Glenn Davis
Hong Kong’s loss proved to be trainer Les Ross’ gain when talented three-year-old Defence Missile made it back-to-back wins at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
Defence Missile followed up his impressive win at Doomben on September 8 with a decisive half length win over Cailini in the Marcoola SLSC Nippers QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap (1000m).
Pizonie was third, a further long neck away.
Defence Missile is owned by Mike Crooks who bought the son of Love Conquers All for only $15,000.
His form proved a little disappointing until Ross made an important gear change when he removed blinkers and added winkers for the gelding’s previous win at Doomben on September 8.
Ross was all smiles after Defence Missile’s Doomben triumph and the smile got even broader when the Eagle Farm trainer picked up the QTIS bonus again.
Defence Missile is ineligible for the Magic Millions and was almost sold to Hong Kong during the week.
“We almost had him sold for $350,000 to Hong Kong clients during the week but he didn’t meet the weight requirements,” Ross said.
“To be eligible for Hong Kong a horse has to be over 500kgs and had 10 starts or less.
“Unfortunately, he’s a tiny horse and didn’t make the 500kgs weight requirement.”
Ross plans to give Defence Missile another start in two weeks before the son of Love Conquers All heads to the spelling paddock.
Meanwhile promising stayer Monaco Snob showed he had come of age and took a big leap towards the $1 million Magic Millions Trophy at the Gold Coast in January after completing a hat-trick of wins in the Hotspot Titanium Benchmark 75 Handicap (2200m).
Ridden a perfectly judged race by in-form jockey Michael Hellyer, Monaco Snob came from second last to down Antigone by two lengths with third placegetter Colour Of Money, a further 2-1/4 lengths away.
Hellyer will have his first ride in a Group 1 race next week when he heads to Sydney to partner the David Vandyke-trained Baccarat Baby in the Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.
The stoutly bred Monaco Prince was a $24,000 buy at the 2015 Magic Millions March sales and has now won five of his 24 starts with prizemoney of more than $91,000.
Monaco Snob was an impressive winner in midweek company at his previous start and had no problems making the transition to Saturday city grade.
Heathcote has always had a good opinion of the son of Monaco Consul who won the G1 Victorian Derby in 2009.
“It’s pleasing whenever any horse wins three straight and he did it with authority,” Heathcote said.
“We always thought he’d make a good stayer but he just needed time to mature and the penny has finally dropped.
“He’s got a long way to go yet but there’s another 2200 metre race for him in two weeks and we’ll keep raising the bar towards the Magic Millions which is his ultimate goal.”
Racing Queensland webnews September 22