Former cast-off Talent Show yesterday caused the biggest boilover in modern times when she stormed home to win the $500,000 Golden River Developments Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot.
Officially starting at $31, Talent Show, who paid $48.90 on the tote, was edged to the centre of the track midway down the straight by Jarrad Noske before gaining clear running to dash past Global Flirt to win the Group 2 feature by three-quarters of a length.
The heavily-backed Adam Durrant-trained $3.40 favourite Mr Moet was anchored by his 59kg, but fought on gamely for jockey Daniel Staeck to nail Global Flirt, ridden by apprentice Mitchell Pateman, by a nose for second.
Trainer Graeme Ballantyne formed a syndicate to buy Talent Show for $25,000 at a dispersal sale in mid-2011 after he had trained her to win three times for her original owner-breeders Bob and Sandra Peters, who had four cup runners.
Ballantyne's wife Donna and son, Fremantle forward Hayden Ballantyne and his teammate Nick Suban, along with Dockers sponsor David Strom, David Bushell and Brian Anderson are all co-owners of the six-year-old Jeune mare.
Talent Show was first emergency for the 16-horse field, but gained a run when Chester Road was scratched on Monday morning.
It was Ballantyne's biggest win of his training career.
"It is unbelievable we have got here," Ballantyne said.
"We picked out this race for her a long time ago, but not really expecting to win it.
"She has run a big race today. Jarrad rode her a treat and coming to the corner I was hoping for her to get into the clear, which she did.
"She kept drawing bad barriers and was trapped out wide.
"I was hoping for a better barrier, which she had (three) and luck went her way."
One punter coughed up $60,000 on Mr Moet, who was backed from $3.80 into $3 before easing to $3.50.
The well-fancied Sydney stayer Cantonese, who was ridden by Jim Cassidy, and outsider Lopov (Lucas Camilleri) set the race alight when they established a big lead from about the 1250m mark with WA Oaks winner Pop Culture left to cart up the remaining runners.
Both leaders compounded in the straight to finish well back with stewards later questioning Camilleri later about his tactics of pushing Cantonese from the 900m.
Trainer Bjorn Baker said he knew Cantonese could not keep going at such a cracking pace, but felt the five-year-old may have left his best form in Sydney.
Trainer Justin Warwick was far from disappointed with Global Flirt, who moved from a restricted class galloper to running third in the cup in a single campaign.
"For a moment I thought we had it," Warwick said. "He got caught up in a bit of traffic. We didn't have the run the winner had, but in saying that we did hit the front and got beat by better horses."
For Durrant the new year was a roller-coaster ride, losing Chester Road to injury, then yesterday Summer Scorcher $3 favourite Texan dropping dead on his way to the 1000m barrier.A crowd of 15,500 braved the elements to be at Ascot, with punters turning over $1.5 million on the on-course tote.
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