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Birthday surprise for Blackfriars

Drive West pulled off a king-sized upset courtesy of a rails run in the Barony’s 40th Birthday Hcp (1600m) at Belmont on Saturday.

The Blackfriars gelding paid $90 on the WA TAB but it wasn’t a total surprise for trainer Joe Miller.  “He’s a tough horse, alright,” Miller said.  “The stewards told me a couple of months ago I was racing him too much and that he needed a spell.


“I don’t know about that – he’s a stayer and we’ve gotta work every day so they can, too.  Anyway, I gave him a break and he only had one run in six weeks before today.”

Drive West (6g Blackfriars – Victory Romp by Victory Drive) faced the starter 28 times in 2013-14 for wins at Ascot (2) and Belmont.  He’s a homebred for Gingin trucking contractor Roydon Daw and his daughter Rene and they race him in partnership with Miller’s son Ben.

“My other son Paul trained his dam’s sister Royal Drive for Roydon,” Miller recalled.  “She was a pretty good filly winning the 1000 Guineas and WA Oaks in 2005.”

Drive West’s cheque helped Scenic Lodge champion Blackfriars ($407K) take over from Danehill Express ($388K) at the top of the Sunspeed sires’ table and both stallions have several leading candidates in feature races during the Goldfields carnival next week.