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Without a Fight Tops Former Stablemate in Caulfield Cup

Simon Crisford was proud of West Wind Blows  despite the heartbreak of watching him suffer a narrow defeat to former stablemate Without A Fight in a thrilling Caulfield Cup (G1) Oct. 21 at Caulfield.

Simon and his son Ed trained Without A Fight for three seasons, which culminated with a run in last year’s Melbourne Cup, before the 6-year-old then remained in Australia under the guidance of Anthony and Sam Freedman. Their former inmate came back to haunt them, winning by a head in the prestigious group 1 handicap.

West Wind Blows took the lead in the final stages of the race, but was pipped on the line by the charging Without A Fight, who provided jockey Mark Zahra with a second victory in the race.

Crisford said: “It was a fascinating visual seeing him [West Wind Blows] and Without A Fight battling it out at the finish. All credit to both horses because they’re seriously good and it was a great spectacle.

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“We took Without A Fight over for the Melbourne Cup last year. The ground was too soft then, but he went down there to stay there and that was the whole point of last year’s trip.

“They’re two tough horses—it was fantastic to watch. It was a great run and West Wind Blows came close to winning. He was so close yet so far, but I’m very proud of him as he had to fight hard and it was a super effort.”

Also praising jockey Jamie Spencer, Crisford added: “Jamie had to angle off the fence because he didn’t want to get trapped on the rail. 

“Luckily the pace held up early and he was able to creep into the race when he wanted to. He had a great finishing kick, but he got run down late.”

The joint-trainer confirmed that West Wind Blows will remain in Australia, with the Champions Stakes (G1) at Flemington on Nov. 11 his next target.

“His next start will be in the BRC Champions Stakes,” he added. “He’s run really well in both his starts in Australia and we’re really enjoying the whole Spring Carnival experience.”

Gold Trip  was third and Bois d’Argent  was fourth. The Joseph O’Brien-trained Valiant King , who was ridden by Jamie Kah, finished sixth. O’Brien’s other runner Okita Soushi  was down the field in 12th.

There was a sting in the tail for Zahra, who was given a seven-meeting ban by the stewards after he hit his mount nine times with the whip before the 100-meter mark, which is four more than allowed.

The jockey can ride at next Saturday’s Cox Plate meeting, but will be unavailable until Victoria Derby day the following Saturday.

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