Cannonball goes Express to the winners circle at Bairnsdale

Dec 30, 2014

Cannonball Express shook his maiden status with aplomb this afternoon in the Pallats Jewellers Maiden Plate at Bairnsdale over 1600m for Mornington-based trainer Tony Noonan.

Unplaced in his four career starts to date, the 3-year-old Al Maher gelding missed the jump to settle midfield but stormed home down the straight to reel in runaway leader Berkeley Gardens.

Despite expected tactics of leading from barrier 1 tossed out the door upon missing the jump, Noonan never panicked. 

“He’s been a bit of a grinder but in his last gallop, we sat him off his companion and taught him a little bit about chasing and he replicated his training effort today,” Noonan said.

“We purchased him with a view of turning him into a stayer and although his runs to date over shorter distances haven’t looked flash on paper, Louis Mahalkya (Managing Owner of Laurel Oak Bloodstock) has been patient with this gelding.

“It’s always a thrill to get a win for Louis and his group and we hope this will be the first of many because this horse will only improve as he gets out further."

After attempting to dig Cannonball Express out of the gates to find the lead with little luck, Wheeler took the sit and settled midfield on the gelding who appeared to be travelling sweetly.

“If he missed the kick, Tony said he would be happy just to give him plenty of room,” Wheeler said.

“It was a good strong win in the end.

“He’s looking for further and that will do him the world of good and get him some confidence because he’s on the way up.”

With a hot tempo in the race courtesy of Berkeley Gardens, Wheeler bided his time and peeled out at the top of the straight as Cannonball Express closed the margin with every stride to take the lead 20 metres out and win by 1.25L.

The win continued the excellent run of success the Noonan-Wheeler combination has shared in December.