Arcadia Queen and Regal Power captured the spotlight but there was another Group 1 winner on the flight from Perth

When star WA gallopers Arcadia Queen and Regal Power flew into Melbourne earlier this week, the other horse with them slipped through unnoticed.

But everyone needs to learn more about the third horse on the flight and quickly. He’s not just some travelling companion.

And, no, he’s not a “smoky” owned by Bob Peters and trained by Grant and Alana Williams, like Arcadia Queen and Regal Power.

Fascinatingly, that other horse is already a Group 1-winner. And he’s a budding star of harness racing, a pacer.

His name is Minstrel and he smashed the race record by a full second when he won WA’s biggest 4YO race, the Group 1 Golden Nugget, at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Sneaking a spot on that Monday night flight out of Perth to Melbourne with Peters’ star thoroughbreds was the only chance co-trainer Greg Bond had of getting Minstrel to the other side of the country for the biggest four-year-old pacing this in this part of the world, the Group 1 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle.

Arcadia Queen and Regal Power have arrived in Melbourne 👋🏻

🎥 (via Instagram/lauranwoolford)@MelissaGPeterspic.twitter.com/UNimi4l6uL

“It was that flight or nothing. We’re very lucky there was room for him,” Bond said.

It’s been a heck of a week already for Minstrel, from powering to that record breaking Nugget win last Friday night, to the Monday night to Melbourne and then a 10-hour road trip up to Luke and Belinda McCarthy’s stables near Menangle.

Throw in the fact no WA-trained horse has won the Chariots Of Fire in the 25 runnings so far and he’s got it all against him.

But Bond isn’t looking for or making any excuses.

“I’m looking at him now and he’s a pretty cool dude. He’s taken the week in his stride. He’s settled in like he’s at home. Nothing much fusses him,” he said.

Minstrel with driver Colin Brown winning the Group 1 Retravision Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park. Photos: Hamilton Content CreatorsSource:Supplied

“I’m not worried about the quick back-up or the travel. The only reservation I have is that he was trained to run a strong 2500m in the Nugget and drops back to a mile and completely different tempo of race where it’ll be on from the very start this week.

“He’s certainly got the ability. I think he’s up with the very best horses we’ve trained.”

Top rival WA drivers Gary Hall Jr, who has partnered superstars like Im Themightyquinn, Chicago Bull and King Of Swing, and Chris Voak are among Minstrel’s army of fans.

“He’s the full package. I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t have a lot more admirers post-race,” Hall Jr said.

Voak added: “At his best he’ll be very hard to beat. It’s just the factor of the travel after such a huge performance (last week) which is the only concern.”

Originally published asWho was that mystery Group 1 horse?

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