Virgil Wins Diamond
Virgil’s win in the group two Diamond Creek Farm Two-Year-Old Classic at Ascot Park on Saturday made it a lucrative weekend for his Melbourne co-owner Jean Feiss, who races the All-Stars trained filly with her husband Bill.
The previous night, Feiss was at Alexandra Park watching her juvenile filly Amazing Dream triumph in the group one Woodlands Stud Caduceus Classic.
“I was already booked for Auckland so when word came Virgil would be nominated for today, I was able to add Invercargill,” said Feiss who flew to Auckland on Friday, then Invercargill via Christchurch on Saturday morning. She was booked to follow the reverse route on Saturday when returning to Auckland after the Diamond Day fixture, before heading home on Sunday.
Driven by Tim Williams, favourite Virgil bided his time early and wasn’t asked for much until second favourite William Wallace moved forward across the top. The two set down to a decent battle in the straight but the All-Stars rep prevailed by half a neck in 2:41.0, less than half a second outside the race record.
It was the fifth running of the feature and the third win for Williams, following Lazarus in 2015 and A Bettor Act last year.
Virgil is by Sweet Lou from the Bettor Delight mare Pacing Delight, a half sister to Amazing Art, Pacing Major, All U Need Is Faith and other winners. He was catalogued for last year’s Australasian Classic Sale but withdrawn. Not before Feiss had inspected him at Woodlands Stud though, so when he was later offered at the Auckland Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale before last year’s Jewels, Feiss was ready.
“I liked him when I saw him at the stud before the first sale,” said Feiss who admits she is often asked what she is looking for. “Really, everyone looks for the same things but all interpret them a bit differently. He looked lovely again on sale day.”
Feiss paid $150,000 for the gelding and hasn’t been disappointed. Virgil has only once missed a top-three finish in seven starts and Saturday’s win took his stake earnings past $60,000.
“He was broken in straight after the sale and has been kept going. Mark (Purdon) said he’s always ‘wanted to be there’ and does what he’s asked. He might not be among the very best but has always been pretty good even against the really good ones.”
Addington hosts a $175,000 Sale Series race for two-year-olds next Friday and in normal circumstances, Virgil might have been there. Feiss pointed out though that he wasn’t eligible and that was one of the reasons the Invercargill race had been included in his programme.
“He’ll be kept in for the Jewels, then we’ll hope for more improvement as a three-year-old.”
Virgil is second on the list of qualifiers for the Two-year-old Emerald and Amazing Dream, second on the list for the Diamond. ‘Southern Bred Southern Reared’ Amazing Dream was offered at last year’s Premier Sale by Vin and Daphne Devery and knocked down to Feiss for $77,500. Her weekend winnings were $57.000.