A last gasp lunge at the line provided the result in today’s Group 3 WFA Strickland Stakes 2000m, after the Adam Durrant trained Kincaple successful returned to the winners circle following an 18 month injury enforced layoff.

Winding the clock back to “New Year’s Eve” 2011 (remember? – the Perth Cup was run on the 31st December that year), the then Mark Reed trained Kincaple was well specked to become the second horse to win the Perth Cup for 2011. But it wasn’t to be – the raging public elect was never in the race, returning with a major suspensory ligament injury which threatened to end a promising career – a career highlighted by victories in the Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie Cups of that year.

A year and a half on, and now under the careful guidance of Durrant, Kincaple had shown signs of a complete recovery a fortnight prior when resuming with a strong gallop in the Group 3 WFA Hyperion Stakes over the non-preferred mile. Punters took note of that performance, and had no hesitation in supporting Kincaple ($3.90 fav) into outright favouritism for today’s event.

In muddling run race, Hyperion Stakes victor Black Tycoon ($5.50) was forced to take up the early running, before Playing God ($15.00) made a bold move at the 400m mark – charging to the lead and spacing the field. But the gap narrowed quickly inside the straight, as God Has Spoken ($21.00) and Moonlight Bay ($18.00) shot past the tiring leader, while star hoop Daniel Staeck loomed up wide on the track with Kincaple for a final crack. In the last stride, Staeck and Kincaple had done enough – securing the photo finish by a mere neck from the luckless Moonlight Bay, with God Has Spoken a further quarter length away in third – younger brother Playing God clung onto fourth.

Durrant will now look to the Melbourne spring carnival for the Pentire 7yo, who will likely partner stablemate Mr Moet on the journey east.   

Chris Blackwell