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23/03/02 Retirement Beckons for Group One Winning Veteran
0323toledo.jpg (12129 bytes)Veteran performer Toledo could be immediately retired after his third Group One win in this afternoon’s $270,000 3AW Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.

The eight-year-old gelding’s biggest fan, trainer Russell Cameron, revealed after the race thought would be given for the iron horse’s career to come to a close.

"What more does he have to do," Cameron said. "It was this third Group One win today and he’s just an old marvel."

0323r5rtosc.jpg (8978 bytes)Toledo, a son of the Melbourne Cup winner At Talaq, is gave Cameron his first Group One win in the Stradbroke Handicap four years ago and not surprisingly the oldtimer has a special place in his heart.

"He’s a champion in my eyes," a proud Cameron said. "He’s my all time favourite."

Cameron said the gelding was set to return to South Australia, the state he was bred, for a tilt at that state’s most prestigious sprinting race.

"We were looking at running him in the Goodwood (Handicap) in Adelaide before he won today," Cameron added.

Owned by the now Sydney based racing enthusiast Kate Torr, Toledo gave the talented Melbourne based rider Steven Arnold a feature race to race double.

0323toledo2.jpg (8271 bytes)Arnold, who teamed up to win dozens of races with Cameron when the two were a dominant combination in Adelaide during the late 1990s, had won the previous race, the Group Two Alister Clark Stakes, aboard the David Hall trained Royal Code.

"Steven is certainly on fire. He’s as hot as they get," Cameron said referring to the hoop who then came out and claim the very next race, the Group Two Sunline Stakes aboard another Aquanita galloper Spurn for Robert Smerdon.

But the win didn’t come without some drama when another Group One event decision was handed over to Des Gleeson and his team of stipendary stewards in their courtroom like steward’s room.

Greg Childs, the rider of the third placegetter North Boy, protest against Toledo being declared the winner alleging interference coming to the home turn.

0323stevenarnold.jpg (8328 bytes)Childs said Toledo "layed into my path" and used the shades of the grass to plead his case for an alteration to the results.

After the parties involved in the protest were asked to leave the inquiry stewards came to the decision the interference suffered by North Boy was not severe enough to forced them to amend the placings.

At the end of today’s 1200 metre race Toledo was able to hang on to win the Group One feature by a long head over the well fancied runner Show a Heart, while the unlucky North Boy was a further short head away on the outside in third place.

PICS – Quentin Lang.

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