That was the only way to describe the run of the four-year-old bay or brown mare STAGGERING by Moysater (USA), a son of Storm Cat, out of the good-producing Last Tycoon mare in Better Days.
The venue, Towac Park Racecourse, Orange … the date, Monday 17th December 2018 … the race, the Broadley & Haydon Class 3 Handicap (1600m). Racing would be held under a clear sky, on a track rated a Good 3 and the moveable rail in the true position.
Singleton Racing had accepted with six horses for the day and declared Jess Taylor to ride all six. Fame Shines, after running the day prior was an early scratching and Lexi’s Choice was scratched later in the day, leaving only the four runners.
The betting market had STAGGERING a short-priced favourite throughout betting ($2.15/$2.10/$2.15). Her two previous runs this time in, both over the 1300 metres journey, were nice, finishing only two to three lengths behind the winners.
The mile start at Orange is located in a chute, there is a short straight run before joining the course proper. The track then curves continuously until the runners enter the home straight.
Scott’s pre-race instruction was to stick to the fence, as the horse tended to lay in when going around runners. STAGGERING began well and was in the leading pack shortly after the start. After going 200 metres, horses out wider were continuing to push forward, resulting in a pack of six runners jockeying for positions.
Jess found that STAGGERING lacked the early speed to remain where she was, ultimately with the speed still on up front, the pair began drifting back. Around the 1200 metres mark the margin to the leader was close enough to five lengths.
Travelling up towards the 1000 metres pole STAGGERING was nearly seven lengths off the lead, still hugging the rail and travelling very comfortably. Percussion, trained at Dubbo by Garry Lunn, had put a bit speed into the race going out to a two and a half length lead.
At that stage STAGGERING only had three runners behind her, remaining on the fence. On passing the six hundred metres marker, Percussion began to come back to the field and after being shuffled back even further Jess and her mount needed a lot of luck from the position they were in, now second last in the running.
To her credit the jockey, sensing that the runners around her were going for runs further out, began upping the tempo on STAGGERING. The decision to do that was starting to pay dividends with the duo making good ground up the inside.
After negotiating the home turn, Jess was parked behind the leader, Percussion and sweating on a gap to open in front of her, giving her the opportunity to gain clear running to the post. Nearing 200 metres from home an opening began to appear, the rider pushed STAGGERING into that space, albeit only just one horse’s width.
With their momentum up, Jess and her horse charged through the opening 100 metres out and had put one and a half lengths on the rest of the field. After being wide throughout, Narrow Neck Nelson was still coming and charging late. Despite his gallant efforts, Narrow Neck Nelson failed to pick up STAGGERING by a long neck.
What an incredible victory that was by STAGGERING, a victim of circumstances early, getting further back than anticipated, a fantastic rails hugging ride by Jess Taylor … nerves of steel stuff.
Congratulations to the owners, J W Kelly, Suffolk Vale & Co on your mares’ third win you should be very proud. A huge thanks to Jess for a daring ride and following instructions and lastly to Scott and his team for producing their charge in fine shape and the plan to get the mile … Well Done!