Four-year-old mare STOCK UP got the “runner up” monkey off her back, yesterday 25th October 2018, in good fashion by winning the third race of the day, the Coca-Cola Amatil 4yo & Up Maiden Handicap (1300m) at Hawkesbury.
It was STOCK UP’s first run after a spell. In her two previous preparations she had been very consistent, finishing in the top five at every run. Scott has brought her along steadily which has proven the right move as he anticipates the mare will go on from here.
Despite not be able to trial STOCK UP, Scott was confident before the race stating “Realistically, this is a race definitely within her capabilities. I’ll be disappointed if she doesn’t win or at least run very well.” He even took the horse on a road trip to the beach to settle any nerves. The punters were aware of that fact installing her as second favourite ($3.70) behind the Gerald Ryan-trained Wokurna ($3.30)
Christian Reith, who had ridden STOCK UP in every race start was once again the declared jockey. She was allocated topweight (59.0kgs) for the event and would jump from the inside barrier in the field of eight runners.
Fine weather was the order of the day, the track initially rated a Soft 6 had improved throughout the day and received an upgrade to a Soft 5 prior to the running of race three.
In front after the jump, the jockey took hold of STOCK UP, maintaining a forward position in the first couple of hundred metres of the race. Shortly afterward, Ladies’ Gem took up the lead with the favourite, Wokurna, parking outside of the leader. Christian was happy to settle in fourth position on the rail, Hiero was just ahead of the pair to their outside.
Travelling very comfortably, the pair remained in that spot until approximately 600 metres from home when STOCK UP was angled off the fence in preparation for the run home, in pursuit of victory. Just before negotiating the home turn, Christian had his horse on an outward path moving forward.
Rounding the bend the leaders had shifted off the rail causing STOCK UP to travel almost six horses wide. Her jockey didn’t panic, allowing his mount to balance once into the straight with clear running room ahead.
Ladies’ Gem was travelling well in front 300 metres out, whilst the favourite was dropping off. With 200 metres to go, STOCK UP was being asked to for her final effort, passing Wokurna and issuing a strong challenge to the leader.
Full of running, still 100 metres to go, the duo were now one length clear of the rest. Happy Hustler, trained locally by Ethne Potowski, looked the only danger of denying STOCK UP of victory was finishing strongly from back in the field.
The post loomed and STOCK UP had just over half a length to spare from Happy Hustler with Ladies’ Gem sticking on for third ahead of Wokurna. The time for the race was 1:17.34 they covered the last 600 metres in a smart 34.27.
To the owners, heartiest congratulations, a very nice first-up performance and we’re sure there will be more wins to come. Scott and his team have done a grand job so far and a fine ride by Christian all augers well for the future … and are looking forward to it.