Classic winner by Musket

Impeccably bred stallion Musket nailed his first-stakes winner in the LR Belmont Classic (2200m) on Saturday.

His first-crop Sunspeed stayer Dark Musket nailed odds-on favourite North Ridge (Danehill Express) by a nose in a race that has launched the careers of numerous stars since its inception in 1996.  “He went a bit wide on the corner and had to do it the hard way,” trainer Graeme Ballantyne said.  “Everything he’s done, he’s handled on his ear.”

Dark Musket (3g Musket – Oriental Lass by Faltaat) was a $4,000 buy as foal for Ballantyne and his wife Donna.  He was sold by Geisel Park owner Eddie Rigg and is from a three quarter-sister to NZ Group 1 winner Sedecrem (Faltaat).

The Belmont Classic has been the launching pad for Shot Of Thunder (G1 Toorak Hcp), Lords Ransom (G2 Perth Cup), Kalgoorlie Cup winners Priceless Matt and Lawmaker.  Class filly Kim Angel won the G1 WA Derby in 1998 and doubled up in the Belmont Classic the following year.

Ballantyne prepared Talent Show (Jeune) to win the 2013 Perth Cup and believes the gelding can continue improving as a four year-old.  “He was very unlucky in the Dayana Plate last time.  He clipped heels, was struck on the head by the whip of another jockey and was checked at the furlong before going down in a photo-finish.

“The extra distance suited him on Saturday,” Ballantyne said.  “He switches off in his work and his races which is a good sign.  All he needed was a good run.”

Musket (Redoute’s Choice) was a Group 2 winner of the Shannon Stakes at Rosehill and stood a sole season at Darley’s headquarters in NSW before Yarradale Stud’s Ron Sayers and Rigg relocated him to WA in 2010.

He’s an 11 year-old three-quarter brother to Melbourne Cup legend Makybe Diva and will transfer to Queensland on the back of his first stakes win.