Bolton's Hometown Darwin Cup Delight

GIVEAWAY chaser Crocodile Crush delivered 23 year old trainer Steele Bolton a memorable hometown triumph in Sunday night’s Group 3 Ladbrokes-sponsored Darwin Cup Final (537m), storming home for a pulsating three-quarter length victory to collect the cool $25,000 first prize.

Adam Dobbin

8 August 2018

GIVEAWAY chaser Crocodile Crush delivered 23 year old trainer Steele Bolton a memorable hometown triumph in Sunday night’s Group 3 Ladbrokes-sponsored Darwin Cup Final (537m), storming home for a pulsating three-quarter length victory to collect the cool $25,000 first prize.

“We did our share of celebrating on Sunday night,” declared Bolton on Tuesday. “I think we left the track at around 1am and then headed to the Casino after that to continue on, it was a big night and to be honest I think I was still in shock for the most of it.”

For 23 year old trainer Steele Bolton, who has been training and learning the ropes since 2012, the rise to prominence by his gifted galloper Crocodile Crush (Bekim Bale x Girl Crush) has been a most remarkable tale, boasting 11 wins and 13 placings from his 27 Darwin appearances, missing a cheque since heading north on just the three occasions.

“Early December last year I got a phone call off a good friend of mine Tim Mullany who was training the dog (Crocodile Crush) and he told me I could have him as he’d just got a second ticket in WA and didn’t want to race him again.

“The dog’s always had ability and can be a bit tricky at times but thankfully he’s settled in great up here and I couldn’t be happier – he’s certainly the best dog I’ve trained. By far, actually.”

Boasting 14 career wins and 16 placings overall – with prizemoney now on the verge of $40,000 – Bolton was cautiously optimistic about his prospects heading into Sunday’s rich decider, with that optimism enhanced when drawing the coveted red alley at last Tuesday night’s box draw.

“The box draw was done with miniature Darwin Cup trophies and I was fifth to go up so there was the four left – there was one trophy left sitting by itself at the back so I decided to grab that one and thankfully it was the red.
From the draw I gave him a really good chance of running a place, but to be honest I probably thought he’d struggle to win but when I saw him go past Joyce Rumble I started to get a tingle up my spine because I knew we were right in with a chance.”

Bolton was quick to heap praise on Tim Mullany who gifted the Group 3 hero, the WA conditioner a regular up Darwin way for the Cup Series, this year lining up finalist Stanga Bolt, finishing fifth after a luckless run in transit.

“Tim couldn’t have been happier for me on Sunday and celebrated long and hard with us although I’m not sure his father-in-law was as happy as he initially owned a share of the dog,” quipped Bolton.

“Tim said to me after the race, I’m allergic to alcohol and I’ll be sick after, but I’ll break my rule tonight and have a drink to celebrate. His support is fantastic and I’ve just this week purchased another three dogs from him to do their racing up this way.

“Another trainer that’s been a real influence is Stephen Whyte. Every year he comes up from Victoria for the Darwin Cup – he won it a few years back with Surfonic – he’s given me so much advice and I take it all in – you never stop learning, especially at 23!

“George Dailly was at the cup on Sunday night and I had a good chat with him for about 20 minutes and took a lot in, I’ve tried to pick up as much as I can and then work out what works best and what doesn’t.”

Whilst Bolton has resisted the temptation thus far of travelling with his star commodity, the apprentice electrician says a trip to either Adelaide or Melbourne is on the radar for the future.

“I’ve got six months to go with my apprenticeship so that makes travelling hard at the moment and knowing the dog like I do it’s important I go with him,” added Bolton.

“There’s the Winnellie Cup at Darwin next month over the 383m so that’s his target for now and then after that we’ll see what’s around and maybe look to travel.

“I still can’t believe it all to be honest, Sunday night was my first ever group runner and to actually win is something I’ll never forget.”

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