Sykes Unearths A Pink Diamond In The Rough

BRYAN Sykes wasn’t as shocked as most when Jebrynah Nitro upset Explicit and Morton in the Pink Diamond Champion Sprinter heats last Friday.

YOUNG trainer Bryan Sykes wasn't as shocked as most when $28 outsider Jebrynah Nitro upset superstars Explicit and Morton in the Pink Diamond Champion Sprinter heat at Geelong last Friday night.

Group 1 winners Explicit ($1.30) and Morton ($5.80) dominated betting, but in a drama-charged and rough-house affair, Jebrynah Nitro turned the Champion Sprinter series on its head.

Jebrynah Nitro was left in front when Stomping, Crackerjack Bull and Nature Strip all fell and he staved off second reserve Judgement Day ($12) in 25.74, with Explicit a close third and Morton fourth.

Twenty-eight-year-old owner/trainer/breeder Bryan Sykes was celebrating for more than one reason, having put his money where his mouth is.

"It was a little bit of a surprise, but I didn't think he was a 100/1 chance,” said Sykes.

"I got him at $126 and had my ten bucks on!

"I knew he was going to need a bit of luck and to be on his best behaviour out of the boxes, but I thought he was a decent chance of pinching second if the right things happened.

"He did have luck, but he put himself in a position where he could take advantage of it."

Bryan Sykes with 2021 Veterans Final winner Ides Of Jebrynah

As fate would have it, the red hot Champion Sprinter series wasn't Sykes' preferred Pink Diamond option.

He'd nominated Jebrynah Nitro for the Rookie Sprinter event, however his homebred March '22 son of Bernardo and Segovia's Dream was drawn as a reserve for the Warragul heat, with Geelong's Champion Sprinter run-off becoming a last chance saloon.

While fortune may have favoured Jebrynah Nitro, the win continued an impressive run of form.

It was his seventh win from 18 career starts and fifth from his last eight appearances.

"His trial form is a lot better than his race form," Sykes said.

"It took a little while for the penny to drop, but he's at that age now – around two and a half – and with a bit of maturity hopefully he can go from strength to strength and compete against the better dogs."

Sykes has made his mark in the three stagings of the Pink Diamond to date.

In 2021, the inaugural year of the Vic-bred series, the Upper Beaconsfield mentor took out the Veterans Final with Ides Of Jebrynah.

Then in 2022, Luca's Jebrynah was runner-up to the brilliant Silver Brute in the Champion Short Course decider.

Sykes will be chasing a $50,000 winner's purse, plus $10,000 breeder's bonus, in Saturday night's showpiece Champion Sprinter showdown at Shepparton, where another Group-winning sensation in Matt Loch awaits.

It would represent a substantial profit on the bargain price Sykes paid for Jebrynah Nitro's mother, Segovia's Dream, a daughter of Black Magic Opal and Segovia and granddaughter of G1 winner Cintiarna.

"I bought the mum for a grand!" Sykes quipped.

"She'd had 30-odd starts when I got her and we were going to race her, but she did a back muscle.

"She'd shown a little bit, but it was more about her bloodlines.

"Jebrynah Nitro is clearly the best in her first litter and when she comes on again, I'm leaning towards Aston Rupee, another son of KC And All, like Bernardo."

Jebrynah Nitro will again exit box four, as was the case at Geelong, in the Champion Sprinter Final.

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