Apprentice Lester Grace notched his first city winner at Rosehill on Saturday but almost didn’t after arriving late to the course.
Grace got to the jockeys’ room just 28 minutes before talented mare Bound To Blush, the $2.20 favourite, led all the way in the BPG 50th Anniversary Handicap (1200m).
It was 17 minutes later than he was supposed to be on course and he would have been replaced on the mare had there been an available jockey to take over.
Bound To Blush pressed forward from the outside and showed her class as she defeated Shamardani by 1-1/4 lengths with a half-length to Miss Spoken in third.
Grace told stewards he thought he had left himself enough time to get to Rosehill from Randwick but was caught in traffic.
“Had there been another rider on course you would have been removed from that ride,” chief steward Ray Murrihy told 17-year-old Grace, who is on loan to trainer John O’Shea.
“We won’t take any action, but for an apprentice coming from the country to the city you need to be aware that one of the bugbears is Sydney traffic.
“But we can’t be critical bearing in mind you left yourself an hour and a half. You’re fortunate it all ended up well.”
Grace said it was great to bring up his first city winner on an O’Shea-trained horse.
“She’s a lovely mare and had good form behind her going into this. Hopefully she can keep going higher.”
Stakes-placed Bound To Blush was balloted out of the Listed Nivison Stakes last month and scratched after drawing wide in a race last week.
“It was about getting her back to the races and back in the winner’s stall today,” stable representative Bryce Heys said.
First bet matched with up to $600 in Bonus Bets!*