By Andrew O’Toole

SON OF BIELSKI will head down the Stuart Highway later this week bound for Alice Springs after a dominant staying performance to win the $40,000 St Patrick’s Day Cup, feature event at Fannie Bay on Saturday.

The 7yo son of Dissident and Valourina gave his trainer, Chris Nash, his second St Pat’s Cup – he won it back in 2015 with King Kev – and provided star apprentice Jade Hampson with her biggest Top End success, and her second win of the day.

Nash hatched a plan to have his charge cherry ripe for the St Pat’s Cup, allowing him just one lead-up run over 1300m, which he won on 1 March. And the plan came to fruition when Son Of Bielski stormed home down the outside to take the spoils by a length and a-half from a gallant Command King, with Vallabar hitting the line well to take third.

After beginning well, Son Of Bielski settled beyond midfield as the pace up front was anything but pedestrian. Tubthumper led the field into the back pursued by Influential Jack, with Bon’s Pride in close attendance along with favourite Wilsons Prom and New Enterprise.

With 600m to go, Hampson allowed her mount to edge closer out wide on the track and Command King went with him. The pair wheeled the turn together but still had work to do to make up the leeway on the leaders.

Passing the 200m mark, Son Of Bielski and Command King had reached the lead and set down for a tooth and nail struggle. But over the last 50m the topweight surged clear of his main rival for a tremendous win.

A delighted Nash said: “He just keeps stepping up – we’d be mad not to have a go at the Alice Cup now. He was strong at the line and with three weeks to the Cup, it gives him every chance to get over today and be on song in the Red Centre.”

Son Of Bielski, a winner at Ruakaka in New Zealand before being purchased by clients of Stephen Brown’s stable in Victoria, was picked up cheaply by Nash at a tried horse sale early last year and the horse won two races in Adelaide under the care of his good mate Will Clarken. He came to the Top End in late August and has since had six starts, winning his last five in succession.

His record stands at 36 starts for eight wins, five seconds and four thirds, and his stake earnings are now $182,821, with perhaps more in store in three weeks’ time.

Saccharo continued his recent great run of form when getting the better of Siakam to win the Ladbrokes Summer Sprint Series Heat 8 (1300m).

Trained by Phil Cole for a large band of owners, many of whom were on-course, Saccharo settled fourth of the five runners as Ye Hella cut out the pace. Siakam was handy throughout along with Desert Dreamer, but Wayne Davis had a handful of horse as Saccharo loomed large on the home turn.

The topweight finished resolutely to collar Siakam with about 100m to run, going on to score by a length and a-half from his chief market rival, with Desert Dreamer over four lengths away third.