An untimely cough has proven to be a stroke of luck for Caulfield trainer Rob Hickmott following the first of what could be many metropolitan wins for emerging grey galloper Bumper Blast at Flemington on Thursday.
Bumper Blast raced in the Hong Kong-based David Price’s familiar Western Bulldogs colours of royal blue, white and red band and was destined to race in Hong Kong before failing a mandatory pre-export vet test.
“He had a little bit of a throat issue – nothing structural – but he failed the vet and David (Price) doesn’t like anything go amiss with his horses in Hong Kong so he left him here,” Hickmott explained.
WATCH: Hear from Hickmott
Bumper Blast’s victory came in the annual greys race (restricted to Benchmark 90 horses) but Hickmott said better things were ahead for the son of Cox Plate winner Ocean Park.
“It probably isn’t the best race on the calendar for the year but he’s a nice progressive who did a great job,” Hickmott said.
“Hopefully, we could be back here in 12 months racing in a (Group 1) Cantala or something like that.”
Price buys and sells a number of horses from Australia to Hong Kong, with his most significant horse being the Hong Kong sprint sensation Silent Witness.
Punters, still smarting from the odds-on defeat of Impi in the opening event, launched into Bumper Blast, who tightened in late from $3.20 to start at $2.90.
Ridden by Melbourne Cup winner Craig Williams, the three-year-old finished powerfully from midfield to score a soft win by a length-and-a-half from Rainmoth ($8), with early leader Fly For Yulong ($26) a head away in third place.
WATCH: Bumper Blast’s win