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Webster stable overjoyed to land two sprinters in Country Stampede Final

Thu 25 November 2021

For a smallish stable to qualify two live chances for the Country Stampede Final, it's fair to say St George-based trainer Pat Webster is a proud man of his team of gallopers.

With V J Day booking his spot on George Moore Stakes Day on his home track earlier this month, it was Patented’s turn to land in the Doomben show-piece race on Roma Cup Day on Saturday afternoon at Bassett Park.

Dug out early on by experienced hoop Gary Geran, Patented never looked like being beaten on the sand at Roma, with another stable-mate – Phionaix – running home well to fill the second slot in the Open Handicap over 1000 metres.

The Webster barn have long held ambitions to be competitive in the Stampede Final after getting a taste of metropolitan racing in the Battle of the Bush Final earlier this year with Oh Why, who finished well back in the field.

“We have aimed horses at this series a fair way out and to get two there, we are pretty proud of that being a pretty small stable,” Webster said.

“I would not be able to pick between them in the Final – the barrier draw will have a big say in it.

“If it gets wet, Patented will be the one of the two to beat in those conditions.”

Well backed in the market, Geran won with a tight hold on the four-year-old gelding, who has now won six races from just 18 trips to the races in his young career.

“It all went to plan really, Patented was probably the pick of our two here today and the other horse ran out of his skin to run second,” Webster said.

“We have been trying to qualify Patented for a couple of starts previous and has just drawn bad, with poor barrier draws. 

“We drew well today and have gone on with it.

“He is worthy of making it today the Final – that is for sure – that was his fifth country run today.”

Webster has put together an outstanding training performance with the Zoustar gelding, picking him up as a Class 1 galloper earlier this year and now he has six victories under his belt.

Hoop Geran won on V J Day just seven days ago and might just face a tough decision on which Webster sprinter to ride come the Final.

“He has a bigger goal in a couple of weeks and he gets through with an easy run here today,” Geran said.

“Hopefully his weight stays down for the Final and I will need to make a choice between the old horse V J Day and this fella.

“It will be hard to pick which one to ride.

“The old horse has been such a warrior of a horse while Patened will get a nice weight.”

The Country Stampede qualifier was just one of the feature races on a massive day of racing at the popular Roma Cup, with a big crowd in attendance from all around the Sunshine State.

Club co-president Peter Flynn, who shares the role with Craig Smith - the leading trainer in town – believes the annual Cup day is a boon for the entire town – not just the racing industry.

“We have people from the city of Brisbane come and from all over country Queensland, as well,” Flynn said.

“Trainers come from an area of 5,000 kms away to the meeting bring horses here, which brings owners and staff and also people from those towns.

“It is very much an influx into Roma for the Cup weekend.

“All the motels were booked out for the weekend.”

According to Flynn, the biggest Roma Cup Racedays peaked at around 10,000 punters on course over the last decade and with COVID restrictions limiting patronage somewhat this year, with around 5,000 at Bassett Park.

In the Cup itself, it was the Darling Downs stable of Matt Kropp who again lifted the prized Roma trophy. 

The Kropp stable have won five of the last six editions of the Roma Cup, and in 2021 it was Tears Of Love who got the money, under a strong ride from Les Tilley in the $45,000 feature. 

"We were hoping to do it again and when you win a few, you get hungry to win more," Kropp said.

"It is never going to be easy against these horses.

"He has dropped back in class but he carried eight kilos more than the rest of them, the horse did a super job.

"He is a lovely Cup horse, he is so tough - he is a ripper."

The Cup for 2021 also doubled as a Country Cups Challenge qualifier over 1640 metres, with Tears Of Love not having enough country starts to be eligible for the Final.