Takeover on target
By MIKE HEDGE
MELBOURNE (AAP): They came from everywhere and nowhere to win on Super Saturday at Flemington.
A taxi driver, a showjumper and a old gelding who was "given away" only a month ago all became Group One winners on the state's biggest day outside the spring.
Joe Janiak, the cab driver from Queanbeyan, won the Newmarket with his world-class sprinter Takeover Target.
They're off to one of the most famous race meetings in the world, Royal Ascot, to run in a race won three years ago by the Australian horse Choisir.
Then they'll go to Japan, and then to Hong Kong.
And with a bit of luck they'll return with more money than Janiak ever thought existed when he used to supplement his family's income by following horses around as a kid to collect their manure.
Takeover Target's Newmarket win was followed a race later by Apache Cat's all-the-way success in the Australian Guineas.
For the horse with the all-white face it was well-deserved Group One success.
For his trainer Greg Eurell it was the same - and reminiscent of his introduction to the equestrian world on a piebald gelding that took him to the top of the showjumping world.
Hard acts to follow, but trainer Robbie Laing and his discarded old war horse Roman Arch did their best in the Australian Cup.
A 50-1 shot whose 10 owners only bought him last month.
His previous owner John Playfoot had decided there wasn't much left in Roman Arch's seven-year-old legs, so he sold him for $100,000.
Roman Arch had already won a Group One race - the 2003 Toorak Handicap - and $1.3 million.
But his form had slipped and he was getting on.
"It looked like it was time to move him on," Laing said.
"But I thought he might still have a race or two in him, so I got some people together and they bought him.
"I only just sent them their first bill last week."
Now he's won another Group One and lifted his earnings to almost $2 million.