Archer win for Cupid’s Syndicate

Published 1 May 2023

Archer win for Cupid’s Syndicate

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To put it succinctly, Sunday’s historic first $1 million race day at Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park racecourse, starring it’s richest ever run race the $775K The Archer (1300m) had it all.

As if perfectly scripted before an estimated crowd of 4500 race goers, arguably the most euphoric and emotional scenes ever witnessed there in its 123 years history, spontaneously erupted just after 4.08pm.

The catalyst was the classic finish to The Archer.

Much to the delight of their connections and slot holders, Weona Smartone (Ryan Maloney, $9.50) and Emerald Kingdom (Damien Thornton, $5.50) were going head-to-head seemingly having The Archer to themselves just metres away from the winning post.

Within centimetres of the winning line just as last year’s inaugural The Archer winner Emerald Kingdom looked like creating “history in the making”, within a flash that all changed. 

Audaciously, outsider Alpine Edge ($21.00) dived through along the inside for jockey Ben Thompson in a move that would douse an Emerald Kingdom party but fuel another. 

It mattered little that a photo finish had been called, as the burgeoning and good-natured raucous group of about 30 eagle eyed owners and slot holders present connected with Alpine Edge, burst into celebrations.

The commotion in the saddling enclosure with grown men embracing each other, jumping for joy, shrieking, clapping and thumping the air, was something to behold.

It seemed there was no stopping the pandemonium as small patches of owners ran from one group to another igniting hysteria.

Female partners were whirled off their feet but that was nothing in comparison to the bedlam that unfolded when number 6 – that of Alpine Edge was displayed the winner.

Wild celebratory scenes were breaking out all around the enclosure akin to embers from a fire flaring up as fellow connections of the winner rushed in to join the expanding throng.

Just for the record and the journals of history, Alpine Edge won by 0.06 of a length (a bare nose) from Emerald Kingdom while Weona Smartone was 0.22 of a length away third.

How closes was that?

All too wretchedly close for Desleigh Forster the trainer of runner-up Emerald Kingdom who later rued – “that’s two running’s of the Archer for two seconds after Apache Chase last year”.  

Back to the enclosure where Jambin grazier Geoff Maynard, the manager of the 20 cattlemen strong the Cupids Syndicate was receiving a movie star reception amid, a hero’s welcome from wild scenes created by his syndicate members.

While verging on being almost speechless, Geoff said all the right words at the presentation ceremony for The Archer win, praising Gold Coast training partnership of Trent and Toby Edmonds, jockey Ben Thompson and syndicate slot holder members. 

While that took place about 10- minutes after the three horse The Archer finishing duel had elapsed, Geoff Maynard got to hold the coveted The Archer trophy above his shoulders.

You guessed it more wild cheering erupted but this time the enthralled masses of racegoers lined outside winner’s stall fencing led the chorus. 

Some 24 hours later, Geoff Maynard battling to speak through a hoarse (no pun intended) throat brought about by race night celebrations with his syndicate mates explained what should have been an obvious omen tip.

Asked about the origin and meaning of the CUPIDS Syndicate, Geoff said:

“The 20 odd syndicate comprises mainly CQ cattlemen. The CUPIDS acronym means Cattlemen Under Pressure and In Dire Straits. (He said some of the wags in the syndicate say the S begins another word, a rather crude adaptation).

As for Cupid, well it is the most recognisable Archer”, Geoff said.

Of course!

As omen tips go it doesn’t get much better than that with the Cupids Syndicate winning The Archer. 

The benefit of hindsight can be interpreted a Saint while the lack of it can be a cruel Devil all too often wearing the blame. 

However, in this instance, there can be no excuses for missing the cryptic tip for Alpine Edge as those possessed with foresight so easily would have and did enjoy the $21 starting price benefits.  

  The Archer finishing order: 

Alpine Edge 1; Emerald Kingdom 2; Weona Smartone 3: Namazu 4; Vega One 5; Animate 6; Blaze A Trail 7; Count da Beans 8; Gem Song 9; Maotai 10; Startantes ($4.20 fav) 11: Surf Dancer 12.  

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