Ethan Brown guides Kakanui to a dream victory at The Valley
When Kakanui crossed the line a winner at Sandown in September 2014, Brendan McCarthy felt his thoughts that the gelding was an Oakleigh Plate horse were vindicated.
But the Caulfield trainer knew before the son of Statue of Liberty had returned to scale those dreams would not be fulfilled.
The speedster had shattered a knee, an injury that was so severe some vets wondered whether he would survive.
You can imagine the Caulfield trainer’s satisfaction when the now seven-year-old returned to the winner’s stall at Moonee Valley on Friday night, taking out Heat 8 of the 55 Second Challenge.
“He’s an absolute miracle this horse,” McCarthy said.
“He’s come back from an enormous injury. The vet actually came in and wanted to put him down three days after he had done it.
“It’s been a really long, slow process but he always had so much ability we hoped because he was so tough he’d come through.
“For the horse to come back from the injury he had is incredible.”
Kakanui took his record to four wins from nine starts when he benefitted from an uninterrupted passage under the urgings of Ethan Brown to get home over the top of his rivals in the $55,000 event over 955m.
The $6.50 chance scored by three-quarters-of-a-length from $2.20 favourite Balwazi, who ran well after being held up for several strides turning for him, with another $6.50 chance El Sicario close up third.
Kakanui’s time of 55.75secs was 0.63secs outside Mile High’s benchmark time in the series that offers a $55,000 Inglis cheque to the trainer of the horse who records the fastest time.
The victory also brought up a winning double for apprentice jockey Brown, who earlier scored aboard Twitchy Frank for Darren Weir.
Brown was not the only apprentice to register a winning double with Stpehanie Thornton, who rode runner-up Balwazi in the 55 Second Challenge, claiming the opening event aboard Lady Seabring before later scoring aboard Tenappy Ladies.