Jim Byrne expected a runaway leader coming to the turn in Saturday's Queensland Cup, but he didn't think it would be his mount Iggi Pop, who dominated the 3200m feature at Eagle Farm.
Like most, Byrne expected Ryan Wiggins to open up a bigger lead on Astro Avalanche, but Iggi Pop was able to stay in touch throughout and went past the import, whose bowser flashed on empty at the 800m mark.
"I was surprised Ryan wasn't going harder, but even from the 1600m I could see him slapping it up," Byrne said.
"I didn't want to be in front that far out, but I could see he was in trouble soon after the 1000m and I just said 'bugger you Wiggo, I'm off."
"Fortunately, he was able to outstay them."
Byrne said he had studied Iggi Pop's videos closely and was convinced he had to be up in the first few because he was very one-paced.
"He has no turn of foot at all, so I wanted to be up there and just hope he could outstay them. Fortunately it worked out that way."
Iggi Pop is raced by Segenhoe Stud and was trained by John O'Shea before his move to Darley.
John Sargent, who is in South Africa at the moment, took over this preparation and picked out the Queensland Cup as a likely target because he felt he was likely to stay the 3200m.
Sargent, now based in Sydney, is a regular visitor to Brisbane and won the Queensland Oaks in 2012 with Quintessential, who returned to win another two feature events last winter.
Iggi Pop was well backed at longer odds, firming from $13 to $10.
Three-year-old Pop 'N' Scotch ($5 equal favourite) proved best of the pursuers, running on strongly to be beaten three-and-half lengths by the winner with one-and-half lengths to Brayroan ($5.50) in third.
Michael Nolan will press on with the preparation of Jumbo Prince, who notched his first Saturday city win in the QTIS Two-Year-Old Handicap.
"We had always looked at these 1500m and mile races at the end of the carnival," Nolan said.
The trainer is enjoying a good run of success with apprentice Ruby Ride.
"I think her last four rides for me have all been winners," Nolan said. "She had won on Jumbo before and that's why we went with the claim."
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