Akzar’s Warrnambool Cup victory puts Darren Weir in the driver’s seat

Darren Weir’s grip on the Warrnambool carnival was made complete by Akzar’s effortless wide arc win in Thursday’s Cup.

Weir also gripped something that had teased him for over a decade – the keys to the car.

Any trainer who was able to train four winners during the three-day meet, plus one of the features, receives a brand new Mercedes.

In 15 years only Robert Smerdon had previously won the car. Weir went within a whisker in 2006.

Rough and ready Weir is not easily pictured behind the wheel of a fancy European car but he gladly accepted the prize.

"We went close a few times," Weir said with a grin.”

"It’s not what we come down here for but it’s a really nice bonus."

Asked what type of car he was currently driving, Weir looked at the red Mercedes and said: "Not one of those."

Akzar trekked a wide course but was never going to be beaten according to jockey Brad Rawiller.

Weir’s team of advisers, including astute track walker Peter "the colonel" Ellis reported the wider Akzar travelled, the better the ground.

"It just couldn’t have worked out better," Rawiller said.

"I was happy where I was because he was just going so good. He was never going to get beat."

Weir said less strategic tactics might have made Akzar vulnerable.

They walked it and they said keep going around them," he said.

"They thought if we went through the bad ground he couldn’t win. We were just happy to keep the momentum going and it worked out so well."

Akzar, who has been a revelation since joining Weir last December, raced four-and-five wide with cover before Rawiller released the breaks approaching the home turn.

Akzar dashed clear down the outside, thrashing Westsouthwest by six lengths. Shoreham was third and Weir’s other runner Shiny Buttons was fourth.

Weir rounded off the week with a car, seven winners and a Cup with a horse who arrived third-hand at his stables and out of form.

Asked to explain the improvement in Akzar Weir said: "It’s simple, he just likes beach life."

He added his staff, especially his small team at Warrnambool, were vital in the success of horses such as Akzar and Puissance De Lune.

"Everyone works hard at home," he said. "And the boys at the Bool do a great job. It’s a big thrill for everyone."

Weir said Akzar’s lean appearance in the mounting yard did not concern him.

"I thought he looked fantastic. A lot of people might have thought he looked a bit light. I just thought he was fit and ran the trip right out."

Rawiller dipped his lid to Weir.

"Darren, he just keeps doing it time and time again. It was exactly the same thing with May’s Dream last Saturday (in the SA Oaks)," he said.

"He just sets them for these races and they win.

"So many good plans don’t work out, I’m just so wrapped." Rawiller said.

Story: Matt Stewart Herald Sun

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