Mixed emotions after Victory Hotel triumph

BRIGHT FUTURE: Victory Hotel (centre) wins race one for Bundaberg trainer Darryl Gardiner at Corbould Park.
BRIGHT FUTURE: Victory Hotel (centre) wins race one for Bundaberg trainer Darryl Gardiner at Corbould Park. Grant Peters Trackside Photograp

THE horse racing industry can be a fickle business. Just ask Bundaberg trainer Darryl Gardiner who experienced the ups-and-downs of it at Meridan Plains yesterday.

The 59-year-old had two runners in a $16,000 Class 4 race at Corbould Park.

One of his steeds won, is in form and destined for Brisbane but the other bled on the turn, failed to finish and will be retired, ending a once promising career.

There were mixed emotions in the stalls afterwards where the two horses stood side by side and Gardiner said that's racing.

"It is disappointing (for the connections of Default). There is nothing you can do about it."

The five-year-old gelding had 27 starts but never really capitalised on his potential.

"When he was young, he looked as though he was going to be a very good, smart horse but then he just lost all form," Gardiner said.

In 2012 he won a $15,000 Class 2 race at the Gold Coast but struggled in 11 subsequent starts, with the past four under Gardiner.

"He just hasn't done a great deal so we were probably going to re-assess his career after today anyway," he said.

While Default's once-hopeful career never eventuated, the future of Victory Hotel looks much brighter.

The four-year-old gelding stormed to a win in the Guide Dogs Queensland Pet Insurance Handicap (1800m) yesterday.

With Michael Cahill aboard, the $5.50 chance beat Double Eagle by a nose.

In 11 starts, mostly at Rockhampton, he has never finished worse than third and has a winning strike rate of 45 percent.

"He's always shown ability," Gardiner said.

"He's been crying out for a bit of ground so we thought we'd bring him down (to the Sunshine Coast) and try him.

"We were able to get the right race for him and the right jockey for him and we got the result we wanted.

"We might consider a run in town (Brisbane) now over 2200m and will assess him then."

Formerly under the guidance of Sunshine Coast trainer Trevor Miller, Victory Hotel went north to link with Gardiner as a maiden winner and has been successful since.

"He's a very honest horse, an easy horse to train and he's got no issues," Gardiner said.

Gardiner knows about horses and racing better than most.

He trained his first winner at the age of 18 and his father was a drover and then a trainer.

Gardiner worked on horseback on cattle properties and was a regular at rodeos.

Topics:  horse racing meridan plains victory hotel

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