Experience pays for cool, calm, collected Cormack
It’s racing’s way for punters to launch into a jockey when a good thing gets beaten… but jockeys seldom get the nod of approval when they get a good thing home after they have found themselves seemingly locked into a position in the running from which they looked unlikely to escape.
Of course, you have to have a willing partner in the horse to do that but, equally, the horse needs a jockey with enough “street smarts” to be able to plot a path out of their predicament and, when that happens, what follows can sometimes take a person’s breath away.
The best and most high-profile example of that is Lonhro’s amazing victory in the 2004 Australian Cup with Greg Miles’ famous call, “with the crowd roaring, go Lonhro go”, spurring the champ on to a spine-tingling victory.
The truth is though, these moments occur throughout racing’s ranks … from mighty Group 1’s to the most humble of Maiden contests. The fanfare level will be different of course but, for the true enthusiast, any rousing finish gets the adrenaline flowing.
Take Flybridge’s win at the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday for example.
Jockey Sean Cormack dropped the Barry Lockwood trained runner out from the widest barrier draw, crossed to the rail and settled in a trailing position at the back of the eleven-strong field in the early part of the race, some seven lengths behind the leader.
Flybridge made up ground gradually while hugging the rail all the way to the home turn where he straightened in eighth position.
Cormack clearly had a ton in hand on a mount waiting to get the green light but, while the route he had plotted had, importantly, saved his mount a significant amount of ground, his proposed pathway to success now ran into trouble.
Riding for luck down the inside is one thing. Realising your luck in that avenue is about to run out is something else… and the earlier that realisation comes into play the earlier something can be done about it… which is exactly where a vastly experienced jockey can make the winning difference.
Cormack didn’t persevere with a lost cause. Instead he began to shift Flybridge out across heels… the five-wide move into clear air taking him all of hundred metres to complete but now, with only 200m left to run, Flybridge was still four lengths off the leader.
It was time to unleash.
With nothing short of an all-out effort required, that is exactly what Flybridge and Cormack produced to cut back the leeway in scintillating fashion to nail the long-time leader Loud Noise on the line.
It didn’t matter that it was only a Maiden Plate, or whatever context you want to place the result, this was a mesmerising effort by horse and rider on the day that personified the thrill of racing.
It was great to watch.
- Graham Potter is the Managing Editor of the popular website www.horseracingonly.com.au