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Profile of a Champion

By Jeune from Iota of Luck


Resuming in late January Alcopop was reunited with Dom Tourneur and won a 900m trial at Murray Bridge before an unplaced effort at Morphettville.  He then headed back across the border with connections again going to a Victorian jockey in Ben Melham for the Kilmore Cup in wet conditions.  Despite being near the rear by the 400m Alcopop unleashed a strong burst to narrowly defeat Its Prince with Vivid Vixen third.  His third and final start of the autumn preparation was the Australian Cup where agin he was dropped out to the back with Shocking settling on his outside of the 15 horse field.  Around the home turn Shocking went wide to make his run following Linton as Alcopop stuck to the rails hoping for gaps to open.  It was not to be and as Shocking flew down the outside to win from Linton Alcopop had run out of steam when the runs came and again finished down the track.  He was immediately spelled to prepare for the spring of 2011. 

Alcopop returned to racing in the Spring Stakes over 1200m at Morphettville where Alcopop jumped well but was soon outsprinted by the speed horses with Periduki going to the lead Uxorious with Avenue following while Alcopop settled at the back with Rebel Raider.   Around the turn Uxorious bounded up to Periduki as theat pair were clear of the field as Rebel Raider and Alcopop swung wide to make long chasing runs.  Sprinters Uxorious, Periduki and Valentine Miss filled the trifecta as Rebel Raider just nosed out Alcopop for fourth as both made pleasing returns to racing. 

 The Penny Edition Stakes was Alcopop’s next target before heading to Melbourne but it was still felt two front running speedsters in Dusty Star and Spacecraft may be took good for the one time Melbourne Cup favourite.   Alcopop settled in second last in the field of 10 but wasn’t that far from the leaders in a bunched field.  BY the 500m Alcopop was still well back and on the rails looking for a run through as Dusty Star was freewheeling in front.  Around the turn Alcopop came off the fence but still had a wall of horses in front of him as Dusty Star started to come back to the field.  Halfway down the straight it looked like Glaneuse was set for victory as Alcopop finally found a gap and gave chase but was still well off the leaders on the shorter Parks straight.  Inside the final 100m Alcopop was still two lengths of the lead but started to finish like a train.   Glaneuse fought strongly but Alcopop put in a determined effort to hit the front a stride from the post winning by a narrow margin with Magical Pearl third. 

It was off to Melbourne for his third spring campaign and he was joined by his regular Adelaide jockey Dom Tourneur as he lined up in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes.  Alcopop started well from the centre of the field and on settling was following the short priced favourite Whobegotyou with Rekindled Interest behind him.  By the 600m Rekindled Interest made a move around the outside as Whobegotyou followed by Alcopop started their runs after being checked due to crowding ahead.  Around the home turn the tightly packed field  saw Whobegotyou behind a wall of horses as Rekindled Interest held Alcopop in a pocket as he looked for a clear run.  Alcopop went a little wide on the turn and gave a start to Rekindled Interest with Whobegotyou getting through on their inside.  Rekindled Interest hit the front by the 100m as Alcopop started to fly down the outside and Whobegotyou fought on strongly.  In the run to the line Rekindled just had too much start winning from Alcopop with Whobegotyou third. 

In the two previous years Alcopop had won the Herbert Power Hcp and then second to the superstar So You Think in a Caulfield Stakes at the Caulfield Guineas meeting and in 2011 he went back to line up in the Caulfield Stakes again.  On settling Alcopop was about 5 lengths off Descarado who had taken the lead from Lights of Heaven.  By the 800m Alcopop moved off the rails to start to slide forward to prepare to make his run.  As they went past the 600m both Alcopop and Lion Tamer started to put in their efforts around the field as Descarado held the lead.  As they straightened both Alcopop and Lion Tamer stopped gaining on the leaders as Avienus moved out in front of them.   Descarado defied all attempts to run him down winning from Avienus with Lights of Heaven third.  Alcopop dropped out to finish a clear last and while initial thoughts were that perhaps his fitness had given out with a month between runs in the days that followed he was found to have suffered a fracture to his nearside knee.   The injury saw him out of racing until August 2012. 

Alcopop returned to racing as an 8yo in August 2012 in the Spring Stakes at Morphettville.  Alcopop settled in third last position but by the home turn found himself on the tail of Happy Trails with Southern Speed on the rails.  With 200m to go Diplomatic Force was challenging for the lead with Happy Trails giving chase and Alcopop only length behind him outside Southern Speed.  Happy Trails went on to win with Southern Speed running on for third as Alcopop just faded slightly in the final stages but it was still a pleasing return for such a serious injury.

Next was the Penny Edition Stakes where Alcopop turned for home alongside Southern Speed as both started their runs from well back.  With Southern Speed out wide on the track she had a clear run to storm to the lead as Alcopop found himself behind a wall of runners and having to change direction back towards to inside to make his run.  Southern Speed ran on to be a clear winner with Alcopop finishing in a group just two lengths off second place.

 Alcopop then took on a class field in the Dato Tan Chin Nam (Feehan) Stakes and settled at the rear with Linton.  By the 600m Alcopop moved out side and started to slowly make ground outside Linton as fellow South Australian started to move forward from fourth.  Around the turn Happy Trails and Green Moon moved away from Rekindled Interest with Alcopop still the widest runner trying to run on.  Happy Trails passed the post just ahead of Green Moon with Rekindled Interest then Linton with Alcopop again not far away after covering more ground than any other runner.

A drop in class followed as Alcopop went to the JRA Cup where he was forgotten in betting.  From a wide barrier Alcopop dropped to the tail on the rails as Sabrage led.  Along the back Alcopop started to make ground along the rails to be midfield by the 1000m but he was soon shuffled back again and by the 600m had been moved off the rails to try and thread a path through the field.  Around the turn Alcopop had been making ground but was soon knocked sideways as another runner lurched out into him looking for their own clear running.  Even though he got balanced and tried to run on again the wayward runner drifted in and out blocking Alcopop’s run.  By the 100m the race was over as Bianmick put the race beyond doubt but once pulled out to be well clear Alcopop finally started to run on strongly and although he passed the post in 7th the run was far better than it looked on paper. 

Two weeks later Alcopop was back for his fourth successive run on Caulfield Guineas day in the Caulfield Stakes.  Sent out at 20/1 many had clearly missed the scrimmage and late sprint of his previous start but connections were clearly confident to send him out again the Cox Plate hopefuls.  Alcopop soon dropped out to a clear last in the small six horse field as Midas Touch raced to the lead.  By the 800m Alcopop moved up on the inside of Sincero just behind Sanagas and Ocean Park.  Coming to the home turn Alcopop moved out to follow Ocean Park with Sincero starting his run as three lengths covered the entire field.  Well into the straight once again Alcopop was held up as he switched across the heels of Sincero as Ocean Park hit the front.  With Ocean Park in front by the 200m he was soon challenged by Sincero as Alcopop started to wind up down the outside.  In the final 50m Ocean Park edged ahead going on to win by a half length from a determined Alcopop who nosed out Sincero for second with a gap back to Midas Touch in 4th.  Although no one knew it this was the form race for the major Group 1 races the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Mackinnon Stakes coming up over the next month.  Two weeks later Ocean Park defied the 3yos All Too Hard and Pierro to win the Cox Plate while a week later Alcopop backed up in the Caulfield Cup.

Jumping from a middle gate Alcopop was soon angled across to be one off the rail just behind midfield.  Little changed until they went past the 1000m where Alcopop moved out wider on the track to prepare to make his run.  Passing the 600m Alcopop started to circle the field with Dunaden hard on his heels.  On straightening Alcopop started to sprint wide on the track hitting the front approaching the 200m and starting to look like he just might finally have the luck go his way but also warming up out wide was the Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden.  With 100m to go Alcopop was in front but the effort around the turn was starting to tell as Dunaden kept coming.  By the 50m Dunaden drew level and edged ahead to win by half a length from the fighting Alcopop with SA Australasian Oaks Group 1 winner Lights of Heaven in third place. 

 Two weeks later Alcopop lined up n the Mackinnon Stakes taking on Ocean Park again plus Glass Harmonium, December Draw, etc.  Alcopop immediately dropped out to the rear of the field as Glass Harmonium took up the lead while Ocean Park was midfield.  By the 1400m Alcopop had moved up along the inside to join Oceam Park.  Around the home turn Glass Harmonium raced well clear of the field as Ocean park went wide and Alcopop looked for a gap along the rails to chase.  By the 300m Alcopop started to put in his run going past December Draw to chase Gall Harmonium with Ocean Park not making a lot of ground out wider.  With 150m to go Glass Harmonium was starting to tire as Alcopop and Ocean Park started to make ground.  With 100m to go Alcopop was clear of Ocean Park and rapidly gaining on Glass Harmonium drawing level at the 50m.  Glass Harmonium fought back but Alcopop was too good winning by a neck from the grey with Ocean Park on their heels in third place.  It was his first Group 1 win despite competing at the highest level for years and being so close numerous times in the past.

 After the Mackinnon Stakes success Alcopop’s next target was set as the Hong Kong Cup run on International day in December.  Could this rejuvenated 8yo travelled overseas and run the Sydney direction and succeed in such a highly rated event?  Connections were confident he could go very close and after being freshened up for five weeks Alcopop had an exhibition gallop at Strathalbyn in late November to prepare for the trip. 

 With everything going to plan raceday arrived and Alcopop entered the barriers for the Group 1 race.  After being one of the first to be loaded Alcopop appeared to jump slightly in the air losing ground at the start being ridden up to the field at the rear but on the rails as they turned out of the straight.  By the 1400m the even pace saw Alcopop following Carlton House who in turn was right behind California Memory all on the rails.    As the pace slackened Alcopop was shunted to a clear last as Carlton House and California Memory were checked in front of him with all then left flatfooted as the pace quickened again.  Around the home turn California Memory was ready to pounce as Alcopop started his run along the fence as the field fanned wider.  California Memory hit the front by the 200m as Alcopop was winding up along the inside and starting to sprint home strongly.  In the final 50m Alcopop charged away from Carlton House and inside other runners to finish a strong third behind winner California Memory.  It was the best performance by an Australian trained horse since 2008 where Apache Cat was placed in the International Sprint. 

 It was initially planned to spell on return to Australia and prepare for the spring but during the autumn it was announced that Alcopop would be retired and continue on to equestrian sports.  He paraded at Morphettville on SA Derby Day in May 2013 so the fans could farewell him from the track.

 The accolades had not finished yet though at the TRSA (Thoroughbred Racing SA) Awards night in August 2013 Alcopop was named SA Horse of the Year ahead of a strong field headed by Group 1 winners Happy Trails and Miracles of Life.

 Alcopop had 34 starts for 10 wins and 6 placings winning 1.9 million in stakesearnings.     

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