Champion trainer Lou Luciani wound back the clock to win yesterday’s listed $120,000 APH Contractors-Bunbury Stakes (Race 8-1400m) with seven-year-old Young Lionel.
Luciani, who dominated the WA racing for two decades from the late 1980s, produced one of his finest training performances to win the feature sprint with the son of Blackfriars at his first start since December 5 (99 days).
With outstanding young jockey Jarrad Noske in the saddle Young Lionel was sent out a $15 on TABtouch Fixed Odds and was mostly considered a rough place chance with his unusual lead-up. However, last year’s listed Northam Cup (1600m) winner made the most of an uninterrupted run to plot a wide course on the turn and storm down the middle of the straight to defeat Dream Lifter by a half-length, with First Among Equals a head away in third place.
A late bloomer, Young Lionel waited until season 2015/16 to hit peak form and his impressive results include placings in the Coolgardie Cup, Ascot Gold Cup and Tattersall’s Cup, to go with his Northam Cup triumph.
Luciani, who also trained Young Lionel’s dam Prime Again to win five black-type races in WA and South Australia during the early 1990s, is now a Bunbury local having relocated to Capel from Ascot a few seasons back and will be chasing a special feature race double with staying four-year-old Tonto considered a live chance in Thursday’s listed $120,000 XXXX Gold-Bunbury Cup (Race 8-2200m).