It was what one would call a challenging day until the last race at Orange, which was run and won by WINCH, a five-year-old gelding by Manhattan Rain out of Hoist (Zedative), on Racing Orange Ltd’s Gold Cup race day, a Country Showcase Meeting.
WINCH has been ultra consistent in his runs this preparation, with three thirds and a second placing since a four-week-freshen-up after being off the scene for close to eighteen months.
Today’s run was an almost exact replica of the horse’s previous start at Orange except of course for the winning part and the fact that the race was 1400 metres instead of 1280. WINCH that day, settled just off midfield, made a move from the 700 metres, came around them into the home turn and let loose in the straight and finished strongly.
Punters were fully aware of that performance and had WINCH posted favourite at $2.45. Jockey Christian Reith had been declared to ride. The Handicappers had allocated the steadier of 60.5kgs making the son of Manhattan Rain top weight for the event. The pair had drawn the seven marble out of a possible twelve.
Chilly overnight temperatures, which a couple of days ago were subzero, led to a fine sunny day (20 degrees), the running rail was in the true position and the track rating a Good 4.
WINCH jumped on par with the field, Christian allowed his mount to settle where he was comfortable, which, on nearing the 1200 metres mark was midfield approximately five lengths off the leading horses.
The jockey maintained his rating for the next furlong, WINCH was travelling comfortably with Christian sitting quietly on his horse. On past the 800 metres marker, the duo upped their tempo slightly resulting in a forward move in readiness for a challenge to the leading bunch which was headed by the Bjorn Baker-trained and second favourite ($2.70) Baaed (NZ).
With just under 600 metres still to run, WINCH had closed the gap to two lengths from the leader and was doing it with very little pressure being applied. Rounding the final turn Christian had taken his mount to the outside, at the same time the rest of the field had drifted off the fence causing the pair to be six or seven horses wide.
After negotiating the bend, Christian had WINCH balanced ready for the final burst. At the 200 metres mark the duo were one and a half lengths astern of Baaed (NZ) and closing with every stride.
A hundred metres further on they were on terms with the New Zealander and low-flying. Under hands and heels riding WINCH had gone past his opponent and was widening the margin to Baaed (NZ). WINCH crossed the finish line just over half a length ahead, the overall time for the journey was 1:22.80 covering the final 200 metres in a tick under 11 seconds.
Congratulations to the Kelly family, to Christian for a great ride and notching up a double on the day and finally to the team at Singleton Racing for a job well done in getting WINCH to race consistently well.