SOMETIMES the shortest way home is the best way. In a repeat of his Caulfield Cup winning ride on Southern Speed last Saturday, Craig Williams on Pinker Pinker, hugged the rail all the way to the line to cause a major upset in $3m, Group 1, WFA Tatts Cox Plate at the tight Moonee Valley track.
The outstanding spring of Williams continued after he rode the mare from third last at the 600m to win with 1 1/4L at the line, passing only Helmet in the process.
With Helmet and Kerrin McEvoy taking the field through to the back straight, Williams was content to settle Pinker Pinker mid-field. Up front Lion Tamer, Kings Rose and Jimmy Choux followed the favourite closely.
Black Caviar and supporters (see news below).
With a storm rapidly approaching, the field headed for the 600m under lights, with Helmet still leading the way. Hugh Bowman on Lion Tamer decided that it was time to put some pressure on the long time leader and challenged for the lead. As Helmet caved under the onslaught, the field fanned out wide, allowing Williams to send Pinker Pinker through the gap on the rail.
Jimmy Choux had set off for the line quickly pulled one length clear, but Williams was right behind him having gone around only the tiring Helmet.
Pinker Pinker, with 55.5kg on her back, sprinted after Jimmy Choux with his 57.5kg. With a 100m to go Pinker Pinker reached Jimmy Choux and swept past, to record an official winning distance of 1.25 lengths.
Jimmy Choux maintained second with Rekindled Interest finishing in third, a further half head back. The time was 2.05.39 on the Dead 4 track with the final 600m in 36.62.
“It’s hard to absorb at the moment, it’s really got to me. It is a great experience,” said Trainer Greg Eurell.
“We spoke to Craig yesterday afternoon and as typical as Craig is he had it worked out to the minute what we would like to do and went through the whole race. He was very confident.”
“It’s funny how things work out. We were at the Inglis Sales walking around and we ran into David and Carrol and they had a couple of horses picked out that they wanted me to have a look at and I had a look at her and she was the one we wanted. Fortunately, we got her and just went on from there,” he said.
Craig Williams was full of praise for the mare. “It was a great effort. I was very lucky with a sit on her and when I asked her to be really tough in between horses she was game and when she came out I thought ‘now we’ve got to chase down Jimmy Choux’ but once I gave her a little bit of a reminder and asked her to extend she was never going to be in doubt. She won with ease and she just gave me a beautiful ride.
Earlier in the day, World Champion Sprinter, Black Caviar, made it 15 from 15 as she won the $300,000, Group 2, Schweppes Stakes with ease under Luke Nolan.
The big black mare hardly raised a sweat as she pulled away from the field under a hands and heels ride to win by six lengths. It could almost have been called Black Caviar Day as the large crowd stood jam-packed against the rails, waving salmon and black flags and cheering her on.
We are very pleased with the result. Luke was very pleased with her action and her attitude and she seems to her pulled up super, so it tremendous,” said Moody.
“We want to keep her in Australia. Look what she is doing for racing, I am as keen as anyone to see her overseas, but let’s enjoy her in Australia for as long as we can.”
Black Caviar will aim for a sweet sixteen in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
-Story and photo by Liesl King in Melbourne.