Camperdown Chronicle
Denis Daffy returns to winners’ circle

THREE and a half years, 157 starts.

That’s the amount of time that has elapsed between winners for local horse trainer Denis Daffy, who returned to the winners’ stall in style last Sunday.

The veteran horseman trained his first winner since August 2016 at Great Western when gelding Fabian’s Spirit saluted in a 1210 metre benchmark 58 event.

It’s been a long time coming for the Weerite local, who has been toiling away with just the one horse this season.

“It was good to get another one after so long,” Daffy said.

“It was a pretty good effort by the horse (on Sunday).

“He had to carry top weight of 63.5 kilograms but he carried it well and it was a beautiful ride by Harry Coffey.”

Sent out as the equal third favourite with the bookies for the event, Fabian’s Spirit swooped home in the final stages to beat Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s highly fancied Rich and Rare and Symon Wilde’s Havashout.

After settling at the tail of the field following the jump, Coffey was able to get the gelding into a nice rhythm, with the pair starting to make their move with 400 metres to go.

Coffey took the horse to the outside of the field as they rounded the home turn, asking for an effort as they straightened.

His question was answer as the horse responded immediately, and quickly chased after Rich and Rare and Havashout, catching them in the shadows of the post to record victory.

Daffy said he could not fault the ride of Coffey, with the horse’s victory also marking its first since joining Daffy’s stable in November.

“I felt Harry did a wonderful job to settle him because he usually pulls in his races,” he said. 

“Harry got him to settle well and then he used his brains a fair bit and kept him out wide so that he didn’t get an interrupted run.

“It was a good ride.”

Alongside crediting Coffey, Daffy also thanked Brian Lawlor for his work in helping solve the foot troubles plaguing the horse when it arrived at his stable.

Daffy said it was also great to win for owners Cliff Justin and granddaughter Harriet Place, thanking the pair for their support.

He is now preparing to find suitable future races for Fabian’s Spirit, which is likely to carry high weights unless the horse steps up to benchmark 70 class.

Regardless, he has nominated the gelding for two races at Warrnambool next Tuesday, although they are both in a lower grade.

“The only worry is that he was a 65 rater (entering the race) but when we looked yesterday morning (Tuesday) he had gone back up to a 69,” Daffy said.

“That makes it a little bit hard to place him well here (in the country) but he might go to Warrnambool next week.

“The trouble is though, one is too short and the other is too long.

“One is 1100 metres and the other is 1400 but we’re hoping to stretch him out (to 1400). I’ll figure it out in the next few days.”

Meanwhile, fellow trainer Clint Marshall has nominated his horses My Psychiatrist and Sunday Night Tea for races at Warrnambool’s meeting.

My Psychiatrist is entered to run for the second time since resuming in benchmark 64 event over 2000 metres, while Sunday Night Tea is a chance to begin its campaign in the 1100 metre benchmark 64 handicap.

Jockey Harry Coffey guided Fabian’s Spirit across the finish line first at Great Western on Australia Day. Photo courtesy Brendan McCarthy/Racing Photos