Victoria’s first-season title is on a knife-edge three weeks out from season’s end with Reward For Effort just $10,000 ahead of Starspangledbanner.
Reward For Effort’s smart youngster Pakaya Prince put his sire on top of the table with a front-running victory in the Gippsland Times Maiden Plate (1208m) at Sale on Thursday. He was facing the starter for the second time and ran out a length winner from the favourite Our Boy Leo (Lonhro).
“He’s big and quick and will win in better grades,” trainer John McArdle predicted. “And the bigger the track, the better.”
Reward For Effort is based at Chatswood Stud and has sired 8 Australian first-crop winners this season for earnings of $396,385. Starspangledbanner had winners at Gatton, Rosehill and Geelong in the first week of July to increase his prizemoney to $385,985.
Pakaya Prince is the first foal of Vonnie (Galileo), an unraced daughter of Tanith (Chief’s Crown) who was a G1 Thousand Guineas and G2 Moonee Valley Oaks runner-up in 2000-01.
Pakaya Prince was bred by Kew-based Earl Eddings and is raced in partnership with a syndicate that includes the Giddy Up Gang.
Eddings is also Deputy Chairman of Cricket Victoria and he bred and leased flying filly Sweet Cheeks to McArdle and his business partner Ben Clayton in 2009. She had been shunned as a yearling but was first out of the blocks at two winning the LR Maribyrnong Trial Stakes at Flemington.
Reward For Effort (Exceed And Excel) had 11 yearlings average $58,000 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale in March and he stands for an $11,000 (inc gst) fee at Chatswood Stud.