Wednesday 1 January 2014

Irish apprentice wins Bagot on Outback Joe

By Mathew Toogood

Nigel Blackiston declared visiting apprentice Oisin Murphy a future star after he partnered Outback Joe to victory in the Listed Bagot Handicap at Flemington.

Irish apprentice Murphy, 18, is on loan to the Danny O'Brien stable and backed up his metropolitan win at Moonee Valley last weekend on Settler's Way with an Australian stakes success on Wednesday.

Outback Joe ($12), a son of 1991 Melbourne Cup winner Let's Elope, was three-wide during the 2800m contest but Blackiston was happy with that because he wanted the horse to be in a rhythm.

The stayer raced to the front early in the straight and held off topweight Hurdy Gurdy Man ($5) by 2-1/4 lengths with Angola ($13) 4-1/2 lengths away third.

"I was concerned about the rain but I just said to young Oisin, `don't lose momentum'," Blackiston said.

"I said to keep him balanced and happy and he rode him a treat. I reckon this young lad is a superstar in the making as well."

Murphy is apprenticed to Andrew Balding and has ridden 41 winners in the UK, including one Listed win.

He is in Melbourne until the end of January but that could be extended.

"I actually spoke to Danny earlier and he's on about extending that for a little bit if he can. But that's obviously up to my boss in England," Murphy said.

Blackiston said he had watched the apprentice and believes he's destined the make his mark in racing.

"I'll tell you this kid, in five years time if he stays in England he'll be leading rider," he said.

Murphy said it was a big thrill to get the chance in the Listed race and made the decision to let the horse stride comfortably three-wide rather than sit back in a race that could have developed into a sprint home.

"It was important to come around them rather than sit last and get caught in the straight for a turn of foot," he said.

"You have to make those decisions and it's my responsibility if they don't go right."

Blackiston was a foreman for Bart Cummings when Let's Elope was racing and said Outback Joe could be aimed at the Sydney or Adelaide Cups over 3200m.

© Australian Associated Press Pty Limited (AAP) 2014

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