Champion WA stallion Playing God sired his regulation Saturday city winner when Playing Rio arrived from the Great Southern to land the Own The Dream Maiden (1400m) at Ascot.
Playing Rio had been placed in all bar one of his six previous starts around the provincial circuit until Albany trainer Paul Hunter decided to test the competition in town. It paid off in spades when he speared through a gap at the top of the straight for Jason Whiting to score by a half-length over Alaskan (Playing God).
Two portions of the prizemoney plus Westspeed bonuses helped send Playing God through $4 million in earnings this season. The Darling View Thoroughbreds alpha-male holds a substantial lead at the top of the WA sires’ premiership going into the New Year.
Hunter decided the target the $50,000 city maiden after Playing Rio was a good thing beaten as an odds-on favourite over 1100m at his home track last month. “I thought the extra distance over 1400m would suit as long as we could get him here in one piece.
“He was keen early but relaxed for a well-earned win,” the experienced conditioner explained as the big, leggy gelding returned to scale. “We will stick around for more of the same and then see where we stand after talking to ‘Fishy’.
“He’s raw and is still a bit spooky. He was all over me just walking on to the racecourse today.”
Playing Rio (Photo / Western Racepix) had no hesitation splitting Ortabearockstar (Awesome Rock) and Bill Selects (Snippetson) according to Whiting. “He pinned his ears back and won as easy as you like. It even felt like he was waiting for the others. He did that last time at Albany and it cost him the win.”
Whiting has been aboard from outset travelling to his early trials at Lark Hill, Mt Barker and Albany this time last year. “There’s a lot to learn like not switching off. But the ability is there.”
Playing Rio (4g Playing God – Sorbatorio by Oratorio) is the 27th individual winner to carry the Playing God – Oratorio cross. He was bred by Mungrup Stud and his dam is a half-sister to G2 Karrakatta Plate (1200m) winner No Questions (Xaar).
Sorbatorio is owned by Oakland Park Stud and her 3yo is Colin Webster’s unraced filly Tapit And Go (A Lot). Her 2yo colt Wineaclocksumwhere (Sessions) is also unraced for Pearce Racing and her yearling filly by Maschino (Lot 331) will be sold on account of Willow Dale Farm (as agent) at the 2024 Perth Magic Millions.