West Aussie influence continues to grow

Tom Walter - Thursday October 19

Western Australian gallopers have become an ever-increasing influence on racing in the eastern states.

Hay List - one of many champions to emerge from the west. Photo: Darryl Sherer

Since the deeds of WA's champions from the early 2000s, Northerly, manifold horses from the arid state have proven successful during the Melbourne and Sydney carnivals, particularly the former.

This has happened in spite of what may be widely regarded as largely inferior breeding stock and high travel costs.

Whether visiting or transferring to a new stable, WA horses have made their presence count in some of the country's biggest races.

Take Vega Magic, which arguably should have won last Saturday's The Everest. He has claimed a pair of Group I's and earned more than $2.74 million in just four starts for the Lindsay Park empire.

Then there's Black Heart Bart, the Darren Weir acquisition which had an immediate impact in Melbourne with an incredible second placing in the 2016 Group I Newmarket Handicap, less than three months after running over 2100m back home. Six wins have followed for the son of Blackfriars, five at Group I level.

They are just two WA products to have measured up on the eastern seaboard in recent years, others include fellow Group I winners Hay List, Miss Andretti, Scenic Blast, Scenic Shot, Plastered, Sheidel, Old Comrade and Delicacy.

But the most significant trend has been the influx of WA horses just below the top tier, ones that have still featured in a multitude of quality races.

In just the past month we have seen the likes of Rock Magic, Cool Passion, Samovare, Star Exhibit, Scales Of Justice, He Or She, First Among Equals, Lite'n In My Veins, Malibu Style and Chocolate Holic, as well as this Saturday's Caulfield Cup contender Boom Time.

Boom Time, trained by the Lindsay Park operation, is aiming to become the first WA winner of the Caulfield Cup since the great Northerly in 2002 but will have to do so at the blow-out price of $51.

If anything, the WA influence is set to only grow as the form of Perth's stakes races continues to hold up, providing encouragement for others to make the long journey east.

And while we are on the topic of WA, honourable mentions must go to two horses from a pre-Northerly era - the Wally Mitchell-trained Placid Ark, which won the Group I Lightning Stakes (1000m), Group I Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and Group I Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in consecutive starts during the late 1980's, and Bart Cummings' 1999 Melbourne Cup (3200m) hero Rogan Josh.
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