Willybeafactor and Byatt seal Wagga hat-trick

Bradley Vale guided the Graham Byatt trained Willybeafactor to victory in the 1200m Benchmark 58 Handicap at Murrumbidgee Turf Club on Friday. Photo: Trackpix Racing Photography.

The Graham Byatt stable continued a stellar run of form at Wagga on Friday with Willybeafactor notching his third win in a row. 

The four-year-old was coming off good victories in both 1200m Class One and 1200m Class Two events at Wagga and proved too good again for his Tumbarumba and Wagga trainer, storming home down the outside to win the 1200m Benchmark 58 Handicap with Bradley Vale in the saddle. 

Remarkably, Willybeafactor was backing up for his third run in as many weeks, and Byatt said it took some sort of effort to win again. 

“I tell you what, it was a huge effort. He was up another grade and three and half kilos up in weight,” Byatt said. 

“I did nothing with him, and even when he won the other day, I was light on him and didn’t do a lot of work and kept him nice and fresh.”

Byatt wasn’t too concerned about the quick turnaround and went to Wagga confident of another strong showing. 

“I went there confident, I really did,” Byatt said. 

“He is a really clean winded horse and I’ve been wanting to step him up to 1400m, and I think he will get the mile, but he has been racing so well over 1200m.

“I thought he would run a similar race; they did go quick in front, and it allowed for us back markers to get home.”

Willybeafactor has been a good commodity for those punters astute enough to find him three times on the trot, popping up at 20/1, 60/1 and 10/1 respectively.

“He has definitely improved; each grade has been a lot tougher, and he has managed to win,” Byatt said. 

Smart galloper breaks through 

The Todd Smart trained Encyclopedia that was ridden by Blaike McDougall, won the 1500m Maiden Handicap at Albury on Tuesday. Photo: Trackpix Racing Photography.

Todd Smart would have been a happy man on Tuesday as he watched Encyclopedia get the job done in the 1500m Maiden Handicap at Albury. 

The two-year-old had been thereabouts in previous runs, and with Blaike McDougall in the saddle, punters backed the Canberra runner into $2.80 favourite. 

Encyclopedia lived up to favouritism, boulting in for an easy 1.3 lengths win and giving the former Gundagai trainer another well-deserved winner ahead of the locally own La Valkyrie that finished second and Phakisa in third. 

Also racing at Albury on Tuesday was the Kerry Weir trained King Kong Cod that started a short-price favourite before finishing third in the 900m Maiden Handicap, beaten by Little Miss Grace and Mathrin.

The O’Lonhro gelding that is out of Konia had Kayla Nisbet in the saddle and jumped well but couldn’t cross.

Nisbet, who was initially caught out wide, went back to the inside, before the three-year-old found the line nicely when beaten 1.58 lengths. 

King Kong Cod now has two thirds from two career starts and looks close to breaking through for a maiden victory.