Two-state double for Grahame Begg stable

Trainer Grahame Begg will have a phone full of congratulatory messages after completing a two-state double on Saturday.

Begg was on the 5pm plane from Sydney having been at Randwick to watch Passive Aggressive land a last stride win in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) while it was left to newly appointed assistant-trainer Chris Hyland to saddle Nonconformist for his return run in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.

With the Blamey win, Nonconformist can claim a berth in the $5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on March 18, although Begg’s initial plan was to wait a week and run in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington.

Ridden by Harry Coffey, Nonconformist ($19 scored a 2-¼ length win from Pounding ($11) with Bankers Choice ($20) a half-length away third.

Hyland said the tempo of Saturday’s race suited Nonconformist who had been competitive previously when resuming, but over a shorter trip.

“His trials have been OK, and we thought that now he’s a bit older he might take a bit more to come to,” Hyland said.

“But having said that I watched him in other preparations, and he’s kicked off in races with no tempo.

“This race had really good tempo and then just before the turn he was starting to smoke up and you got a feel that he was going to be in the race.”

Coffey said pre-race instructions from Begg were to have Nonconformist relaxed and to finish the race off, and if you can win, all-the-better.

“I think he exceeded everyone’s expectations including Grahame’s so it is great that everyone can see the old horse back,” Coffey said.

“His last preparation was probably all about going towards the Caulfield Cup and it didn’t eventuate, but today’s performance looks like he’s back and when he performs like that, he could probably reach any heights he likes.

“It’s awesome to get on a horse like him and awesome to ride him very well. I must admit we got a lovely run throughout.

“I don’t know what is going to happen now. I’ll have to try and keep Jordie Childs off him with him being in Sydney on Grahame’s filly there.”

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