CAMPERDOWN owners of gelding Population are celebrating winning the $15,000 Camperdown Cup after a remarkable turn of events.
The four-year-old went from unbackable favourite to almost-scratching to winner of the 1600-metre cup in the space of five minutes.
Population was a $1.65 favourite for the cup at Camperdown Racecourse on Saturday, but had to pass a vet examination behind the stalls before taking his place in barrier one.
He then delivered on his potential, surging to a 0.4-length win from Streaky Fella, $13, and Orientaped, $13.
The win ensured celebrations lasted well into the night for trainer Geoff Daffy and the owners, including Marie Wall, one of six from Camperdown.
Wall said she was delighted to celebrate the win surrounded by family and friends.
“As a young girl growing up I was surrounded by horses, my father had horses – trotters and gallopers. I just loved it,” she said.
“But your life changes. I had three beautiful girls and I didn’t go to the racetrack for 26 years.
“We were given this opportunity in a horse and here we are. I think this horse will give us a fair bit of happiness.”
Wall is a cousin-in-law of Daffy’s and owns the horse with her partner Peter Wright, and daughters Sarah, a Melbourne Vixens netballer, and Anna.
Camperdown’s Robert and Dawn Case also have shares.
The group bought into the horse on the advice of John O’Neil, a family friend of the Wall’s who manages Sarah and is a prolific racehorse owner.
O’Neil said he was “very pleased” but also “relieved” Population won, given the faith invested in him.
“I’ve won eight or nine Group Ones, Oaks, Derbys, Caulfield Cups, Singapore International Cups,” he said.
“Lucas Cranach ran third in the Melbourne Cup, I raced Mummify. But in terms of getting a real buzz around people it’s on top of the pops.
“It was never about the prizemoney, it was about having some fun.”
O’Neil said Daffy would develop a plan for Population through the summer and autumn but believed the horse could step up in distance.
“Longer term, being by Shamardal, he’d be a chance in the Warrnambool Cup or maybe even a Darwin Cup,” he said.