Big Mike shapes well in Australia debut

Big Mike, pictured winning at Te Rapa last May, performed well in his first Australian start yesterday.

Cambridge galloper Big Mike put some money in the bank and proved his trip to Victoria a worthwhile venture when competing in the A$125,000 Kyneton Cup (2000m) at Kyneton yesterday.

Racing under the name of Our Big Mike, the Craig Phelan-trained six-year-old son of Don Eduardo worked across to track the longshot pacemaker until approaching the home turn.

He ranged up and momentarily lead early in the run home and, though swamped out wider by Another Coldie and Rhythm To Spare, he kicked back gamely in the hands of Michael Dee to finish third, just under two and a half lengths from the winner, the Darren Weir-trained Another Coldie.

Big Mike picked up $11,250 for his placing, but more importantly he showed he would be competitive in races around Victoria, particularly the minor cups.

Phelan was letting Big Mike get over yesterday’s run before making next plans for the six-race winner.

The Kyneton Cup win completed a double for Another Coldie, who has also won the Horsham Cup and two starts earlier the Gold Nugget at Ballarat. Another Coldie has won 10 races.

Rhythm To Spare, the runner-uptrained by Mike Moroney, began his career in New Zealand and has now won 11 races. As a three-year-old he was runner-up in the Gr.3 Grand Prix at Doomben and fourth in the Gr.1 Queensland Derby and he has performed in several Group One races, adding to the merit of Big Mike’s performance.