English raider Chief Ironside beat the local milers when he sliced though the pack to grab a head win in the Group 2 $300,000 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) at The Valley today.
Chief Ironside showed a vast improvement on his first Australian run when thirteenth in the Group 1 $500,000 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield a fortnight ago and responded to a clever ride from Irish jockey Jamie Spencer.
Chief Ironside is prepared by English based French trainer David Menuisier and the five year old was sent out as one of the outsiders of the field at $26.
Spencer settled Chief Ironside in the second half of the field and rode for luck and was rewarded with a gap in the straight which he squeezed through to get the judge’s decision by a nose.
Runner up Cliff’s Edge ($10) raced on the pace and battled on gamely to finished just ahead of third placegetter Best Of Days ($7).
The John Thompson trained Dreamforce was backing up after a tough run in the Group 1 $1m Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 5 and was sent out as the $4 favourite but was overrun in the straight to finish fifth after setting the pace.
Chief Ironside had more luck today than in the Toorak Handicap and Menuisier was very glad to train a winner on Ladbrokes Cox Plate Day.
“The boys bought the horse about two and a half months ago with the view to come here to Australia and we said that we could improve the horse on his previous form and I think that is what we did,” Menuisier said.
“Very unlucky at Caulfield and has been training well since.”
Spencer gave Chief Ironside a nice run during the race and brought the English galloper with a well timed run to claim the major prize.
“I had a beautiful trip around and got cover. We got around the first turn and he settled into it and we needed every yard in the straight to get there,” Spencer said.