At the famous Melbourne racecourse where his sire made his name, talented New Zealand-bred gelding Horrifying (Shocking x Zelt) produced a dominant front-running performance to claim the biggest win of his career to date in Saturday’s A$175,000 Flemington Cup 1849 (2800m).
The Mark and Levi Kavanagh-trained four-year-old is a son of Shocking, who won the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and Gr.1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington before embarking on his successful stallion career at Rich Hill Stud.
Horrifying was previously a placegetter in Flemington’s Gr.3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) as a three-year-old while still a maiden, but he is now hitting his straps over longer distances as he approaches the end of his four-year-old season.
Ridden by Craig Williams in Saturday’s staying feature, Horrifying dominated from the front and never gave his rivals a hope of reeling him in, sweeping to victory by two lengths over fellow Kiwi-bred Through Irish Eyes.
Horrifying has now won two of his last three starts, vindicating the Kavanaghs’ decision to ditch his former come-from-behind style in favour of front-running tactics.
“He was just getting too far back in the run, and it’s a lot of work to do to come from last in these long-distance races,” Levi Kavanagh said. “So we changed the pattern, and it’s just been the best thing for him.
“We’ll let him tell us how long he’ll keep going, but at the moment he’s happy, he’s healthy, he’s put in excellent runs at his last few starts, so we’ll just keep him ticking along nicely.”
Horrifying was bred by Alan Galbraith and is out of the two-race-winning Red Ransom mare Zelt.
Offered by Rich Hill Stud in Book 2 of Karaka 2019, Horrifying was a $70,000 purchase by Eales Racing. His 24-start career has now produced four wins, seven placings and A$401,502 in stakes.
Horrifying provided the first leg of a Flemington double for Shocking, who later sired the VRC Members Handicap (2000m) winner Hezashocka.
Ridden by Jamie Kah and trained by Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr, the gelding was bought for just $18,000 at Karaka by his previous trainer Shaun Clotworthy. Hezashocka has won three of his 11 starts and more than A$200,000, headed by his upset victory in last year’s Gr.2 Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie.