There’s nothing sweeter than booting home a long shot winner.
For Pakenham trainer Glenn Cross it was even sweeter when Crossaro, a weanling he’d selected at the 2017 Great Southern Sale, paid a whopping $151 with a maiden victory at Yarra Valley last week.
It was the four-year-old gelding’s third race and he’d started at $81 on debut at Terang in November and was also a $151 outsider at Geelong just a week before his upset win.
After two starts at 1400m, Cross believes the addition of blinkers, a seven day back-up and rising to 1950m were the key factors in Crossaro turning around his fortunes after beating home only one runner in each of his previous races.
Cross admitted it certainly wasn’t love at first sight when he cast his eyes over the son of Riverbank stallion Anacheeva at the sales. In fact, he didn’t even ask for the weanling to be taken out of his box.
But still there was something he liked about the horse – not to mention the price – when he took a closer look at him the sale ring when the bidding got going,
“I didn’t get him out of the box or walk him up or anything like that.
“Anyway, he’s got into the ring and is at $1500 and I thought gee this is cheap. The mother (Lashante) has produced a Stakes placed horse Draw Forward (Charge Forward).
“Draw Forward has gone and thrown Meteorite which McEvoy trains. It is a good sprinter and is by Deep Field.”
After the weanling got to $1500, Cross said it was going to be a steal if we went for such a meagre amount, so he put his hand up and got him for $2000 but instantly starting having second thoughts.
Above: Crossaro as a weanling
“I am thinking has he got a leg on backwards or what because I really hadn’t had a good look at it,” he said.
“I thought, it’s just too cheap and I’ll just grab him. I could see up in the auditorium and he didn’t look shocking and sometimes you have to forgive a few things with young horses because if you pick them to death, well you’d never buy one.
“This one wasn’t going to break the bank.”
“But he is actually the soundest and most correct horse I’ve got and I bought it almost off the cuff and I didn’t do what you should do and pull them out and have a real good look.”
Cross said he offered shares in his new purchase, which was offered at the sale by Chatswood Stud, but only one bloke bought in for 20 per cent, his neighbour Guido Cerchiaro.
It left Cross with 80 per cent which he admits wasn’t much fun when it came to paying the bulk of the bills, but hopefully the Yarra Valley victory has sliced off some of those losses.
After coming from back in the field, Crossaro scored by a short half-head at Yarra Valley in what was a strong maiden.
“I was quite impressed and he surprised me the way he finished the race off and his time was good up against the 58 (race) and he only ran a touch slower,” Cross said.
“His sectionals I reckon would have been better out of those two races, I would assume. They were not up when I was looking.”
Cross said he was obviously aware of the achievements of Anacheeva (Anabaa x Monroe Magic) which won The Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in 2010 for trainer Peter Moody.
“He has had reasonable results,” Cross said of the stallion.
“He throws a nice cut of a horse and he throws a stayer.
“Our horse has grown out to be a nice type and he is still furnishing and is not fully there both mentally and physically.”
With Anacheeva standing at a service fee of $3300, Cross said “bread and butter” stallions are often good producers of country winners that get to the races for under $10,000 and everyone is in front if they can win two or three.
Cross, who runs an electrical business, usually has about six in work but is down to about two but his numbers will rise again by the middle of next month.
If there was any downside to Crossaro’s win it was that Cross had planned to take a holiday in Tathra, in New South Wales.
“But I can’t go away and not keep racing him,” he said.
But it’s bit of a dilemma that Cross will happily accept as he believes his gelding, which he admits is not a flash track worker, is capable of picking up some more staying races.
Further down the track, Cross says Crossaro could develop into a jumper.
Anacheeva started his stallion career with Chatswood Stud in 2012 when he served 70 mares and moved to Russell and Caroline Osborne’s Riverbank Farm at Benalla in 2018 when he served seven mares and six last year.
Riverbank Farm is the home to eight stallions – Anacheeva, Bon Aurum, Boulder City, Prince of Caviar, Redente, Skilled, Von Costa De Hero and Wayed Zain.
Caroline, a vet, said Anacheeva only served a handful of mares this season.
“Anacheeva has sort of reached that point in his career where he hasn’t actually covered that many mares now,” Caroline said.
“He is that bit older and he has not had too many. We have been very busy on the farm with our other stallions.
“He is a really nice horse and I think with the Anacheevas that they just need time and they are not going to be early two-year-olds and that’s where he is not commercial any more.
“But you can certainly get a good horse by him if you give them time and I think that’s the key to him.”
Caroline said there had been plenty of support for the farm’s newest addition this year, Prince of Caviar. He is by Sebring, out of unbeaten world champion sprinter, Black Caviar.
The five-year stallion’s career was limited to six races – one win and three seconds – because of injury.
“It’s his first season at stud this year and he has been well supported, both by the owners of Black Caviar and by a lot of our breeders who are here,” Caroline said.
“He is going pretty well and all the other horses are holding their places. Redente is consistently producing winners, so he has got his loyal supporters every year.
“We are just waiting for the Boulder City and Wayed Zains to come through because we are pretty excited about them.”
While Caroline is a successful vet, husband Russell also finds time to be a horse trainer who always has plenty of winners.