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2002 RISING STARS 3YO CHAMPIONSHIP - Won by London Legend


It appears Jim and Susan Wakefield have another good 'London' horse. 'Legend' is the lastest, a worthy addition by the look of it to their earlier forebearers, London Pride and London Express, who under the guidance of Cran Dalgety won eight and seven races respectively.

Although London Legend has only won the one race, he has claims to be in their company, for his opening account came in the Group 2 International Cargo Express Rising Stars Championship.

On the face of it, London Legend was on a cheeky assignment. But Dalgety didn't see it quite that way. "If you had looked at the horse's stats, he had a case. He ran a half in 55.8 at Forbury when he finished second, then ran a two minute rate at his next start there which was quicker than what Russian Road went on the same night. As far as speed goes, he would be in the top bracket with some of the others I have had," he said.

It wasn't always like that, and it was fortunate that he found a mate in Dalgety. "He had no idea how to pace," he said. "But he had such a kind attitude, and he always wanted to help. For a start, he would just pace in spurts, fifty to a hundred metres, but he could pace it very quick. London Pride was very similar. It was also a period where you didn't want to encourage the owners out because his legs were chaffed and blown up. "We tried him over three campaigns, and the day he qualified at Ashburton he ran a quarter in 26.5. What we knew then was that he had speed, but we had no idea on what he was like for stamina," he said.

London Legend was one of the Studholme Park draft at the Yearling Sales, and was bought by the Wakefields for $22,000. Dalgety pushed hard to get him. "I had to twist Jim's arm on this one. He had the same grandam as Classy Filly" - a big winner for Dalgety - "and I have always liked his maternal family," he said.

In their pre-race plans, Dalgety and driver Mark Jones thought they would get a passing lane shot if Franco Eruption led as they thought he would from gate one. That didn't happen, and they were forced to come from the back brought into the finish on the back of Russian Road, who finished second.

"We will make the late payment now for the Sires' Stakes Series and run in the heat at Addington this week," he said.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 09Oct02

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