You could see the smile light up the face of David Geall on Saturday night at Wentworth Park. Sitting on a plinth just off to the side of where he stood, was the shiny, gold, 2019 Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg trophy.
“Yeah, it was a special moment. It brings back special memories,” Geall said of his 2018 Easter Egg success. “It’s the greatest thrill you can ever have.
“That was the first one (major group 1 victory) for me, it was before the Melbourne Cup we won with My Redeemer.
“To win the Easter Egg last year, and just to see the trophy over there again tonight …. and we are lucky enough to have one at home , exactly the same.
“The Easter Egg it’s that time of year, you really want to win the big one, or at the very least have a runner.”
Geall won the Golden Easter Egg last year with his brilliant sprinter Up Hill Jill, who charged home and nailed leader Striker Light on the post.
Geall is now one, top two finish away from going back to the well in 2019 and having another shot of collecting a Golden Easter Egg, with Miss Splendamiro currently third favourite to win the prestigious series.
Coincidentally, after fast heat and semi-final wins, Miss Splendamiro (who wasn’t in Geall’s kennel then), started favourite in the 2018 Easter Egg final, but could manage only fifth.
On Saturday night in the heats, Miss Splendamiro not only stamped herself as a contender again 12 months on, but with her 29.54s all the way performance, she showed she was back and bubbling with confidence, according to Geall, courtesy of a hitout over 600m at Cannington in Western Australia.
“Yeah that was the aim,” he said of building Miss Splendamiro’s confidence with a start over the middle distance. “She has just been knocked around a bit, firstly in the Paws Of Thunder final (at Wentworth Park), and that put her out for about five weeks.
“Then in the Australian Cup, she got turned sidewards there, and then she copped a bit of a hammering in the Perth Cup, so we decided to step her up and give her one run before heading here. We just felt over 600m at Cannington that it was a very good chance that she was going to lead and that’s all we wanted her to do.
“And hopefully that has given her the confidence.”
As expected Miss Splendamiro led at Cannington, but was ultimately run down in the straight, but the chance to roll along in the lead, obviously did wonders for her confidence.
“Obviously I’m very happy with the way she went. She came out running, I think that’s the best she’s done here,” he said of the 5.42s first sectional, the best time she has posted in her 25 starts at Wentworth Park. “She was very quick early. I was over the moon.
“She’s a serious bitch, she has been for quite some time, and she could go all the way … it’s just a matter of on the night.”