Reproduced from Racing.com. By James Tzaferis.
Racing has long been a sport for dreamers where millionaires and battlers share the limelight and thoroughbreds with million-dollar yearling price tags square off against hardy homebreds.
This fact was never more evident than at The Valley on Saturday, where Victorian racing’s lovable ‘battler’ Darren Weir orchestrated one of the year’s most memorable fairy tales to date when Burning Front won the $130,000 VOBIS Gold Star (1500m).
The gelding’s managing owner Justin Lovatt said the win, the 13th of Burning Front’s 42-start career, held additional significance given the trackside appearance of his 14-year-old son Lachlan, who has been battling an aggressive cancer over the latter part of 2016.
The Lovatt family, as well as hundreds of friends and supporters, were trackside at a Committee Room tribute lunch for Lachie to watch the gelding salute in the lucrative leg of the VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series.
“Lachie has been in the Royal Children’s Hospital since August last year and he’s just been given the all clear so we’ve thrown the chemotherapy key away and we’ve just got to bide the rest of the treatment out now,” an emotional Lovatt said.
“We had a bit of a tribute lunch in the Committee Room today and we were very lucky that Burning Front was able to race on the same day.
“The fact that Lachie is up there watching with his mates and his horse has just won is a bit of a fairy tale.”
Lovatt bred the six-year-old son of Primus who, after his second consecutive VOBIS Gold Star win, took his earnings past $700,000 and praised the role of Weir and his Warrnambool-based training team in their careful management of Burning Front’s racing career.
“I actually bred him, and I own mum (She’s A Knockout) and dad (Primus) as well so it’s just one of those fairy tale stories,” he said.
“Last preparation we went from about $90,000 in prizemoney to $600,000 which is a testament to Darren and his team down there at Warrnambool.”
Weir, who has made the VOBIS Gold Star his own in recent years with Burning Front (2016 and 2017) and fellow VOBIS pin-up Trust In A Gust (2014), said he was thrilled he could play his part in the special day for connections.
The VOBIS Gold Star (1500m) victory added to Burning Front’s success in the race 12 months ago, as well as his victory in the 2015 edition of the VOBIS Gold Bullion at Racing.com Park.
“He’s got the ideal racing style and he’s just a great racehorse,” Weir said.
“He’s been a great horse for connections but the most important part about today’s win was that he could do it for the managing owner, Justin Lovatt, whose son Lachie hasn’t been too well.”
She’s a Knockout (Kingston Rule) had a Written Tycoon yearling sell at last year’s Premier Sale for $130,000 to Malua Bloodstock/Next Level Bloodstock. She currently has a full brother by Primus as foot while she was covered by Chatswood’s Reward for Effort in October 2016.
Stakes winning Primus (Flying Spur) was retired to the Chatswood Stud breeding barn in 2007. Justin Lovatt now stands him at Liverpool Farm in the Strathbogie Ranges. As well as Burning Front, he has sired last year’s Singapore Group 1 winner Laughing Gravy.