Wilbur’s Grand Warragul Cup Success

HE came, he saw, he conquered - that’s the most apt way to describe La Grand Quality’s Warragul Cup victory for Hunter Valley trainer Darryl Thomas.

Adam Dobbin

14 January 2020

HE came, he saw, he conquered.

That’s the most apt way to describe La Grand Quality’s Group 2 Warragul Cup victory on Saturday night for Hunter Valley trainer Darryl Thomas.

Going into the rich $47,000 to-the-winner finale as the lone interstate runner, the NSW powerhouse was just brilliant in the group 2 decider, outclassing a quality field of Victorian chasers in a slick 25.63.

“The dog really did deserve that win … it makes all those trips up and down the freeway worthwhile,” Thomas beamed.

Beginning nicely from box six, La Grand Quality lobbed straight into a stalking position behind Crimson Vixen in the early stages, before kicking into overdrive down the home straight to defeat the Bendigo Cup winner by two lengths.

“Box draws mean everything in these races; he (La Grand Quality) had four in the Ballarat Cup and six in the Warragul Cup … a one or eight would be handy at some stage,” quipped Thomas.

“He made his own luck on Saturday night, he’s racing better every time he goes around which you have to in that company, when you get to that level the dogs’ are so even there’s no room for error.”

La Grand Quality’s epic Warragul Cup win at the weekend extended the son of El Grand Senor and All Quality’s record to nine wins from 14 appearances, the rising three-year old’s stakes soaring to over $80,000.

Relive La Grand Quality’s Warragul Cup success

“I reckon he’s just reaching his peak now … the next 6-8 months is his time to shine,” Thomas added.

“The plan now will be to pick the eyes out for him and place him as best I can. If I had another 10 days up my sleeve I may have given him a shot at the Paws Of Thunder; I’ve got no doubt he’ll fly around Wenty and it would have been good to show people that.”

In terms of where to next for La Grand Quality – or Wilbur as he’s more affectionately known at home – Thomas admits to being spoiled for choice.

“There’s a few races coming up for him,” Thomas said.

“There’s the Bulli Cup, Capalaba (Cup), Horsham (Cup) and then the Maitland Cup, all pretty close together.

“I’d say the only definite is Maitland at the moment; he holds the record there and it’s just up the road. But it’s all providing the dog’s going well enough at the time.

“I’m keen on Horsham as well; I was talking to Anthony (Azzopardi) this morning and he said that of all the tracks down there he thinks Horsham would suit him best.” 

While tickled pink with La Grand Quality’s group winning heroics at Warragul on Saturday, Thomas had further reason to smile on the homefront last Thursday, unearthing unraced chaser Whitfield in a Maitland performance trial.

By Fernando Bale out of Miss All Class, the 20-month old youngster recorded a scintillating 22.02 for the 400 metres.

“I’ve got four from the litter and they’re all rockets,” Thomas declared.

“I’ve got a brother of Whitfield’s that I’d say is quicker. I’ve got a few options with them with some nice maidens coming up.

“The Launching Pad at Sandown in March-April looks like a decent target for them as well.”