It’s been a great year of racing.
Winx confirmed her status as the undisputed queen of the turf. A new star in The Autumn Sun announced himself on the national stage. Redzel did what champions do and defended his Everest title. And Willie Pike just kept winning in the last in Perth.
But spare a thought for those rides that didn’t go to plan. The butchers. The slaughters. The rides that had you launching expletives at the TV, ripping up your ticket in disgust, or heading to Twitter to find the jock in question, tagging them, then stuffing as many foul-mouthed tirades into 280 characters as you possibly could.
This article will bring up some of those bad memories. Here are my nominees for 2018’s ‘Worst Rides of the Year’.
Have Your Say 🗣: Can you think of another moral beat? – Comment below
Ranier – Hugh Bowman – Poseidon Stakes
Hugh Bowman delivered one of the slaughters of the year aboard Ranier in the Poseidon Stakes at Flemington on October 6.
Punters were left fuming after Bowman seemed to baulk his way down the straight on the Godolphin colt, and by the time the $3 favourite eventually got clear, he flew home to run a close second to Wild Planet.
Ranier is in the Godolphin blue. Get your vomit bag ready.
Wild Planet does enough to hold them at bay.
— Racing.com (@Racing) October 6, 2018
Luckily for Bowman, a certain super mare stole the headlines later that day, but not before the stewards put him under the pump for a baffling ride aboard Ranier.
Punters everywhere called for Bowman’s head, and despite Hugh’s excuses in his post-race interview, James Cummings stuck fat with the leading hoop.
Hugh Bowman comments on his ride on Ranier. pic.twitter.com/IzjdDHawFI
— Racing.com (@Racing) October 6, 2018
Fortunately for Hugh, he was right, and he was back aboard Ranier and winning two-weeks later, before going on to make it two in a row in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes at Flemington, saluting over Wild Planet on both occasions.
Fighting Harada – Michael Walker – Labrokes Back Yourself 3YO Handicap x 2
A double whammy here for Michael Walker aboard the Mick Price-trained colt Fighting Harada.
Watch the stewards vision of both rides before forming your own opinion.
Watch the stewards' vision of Fighting Harada's last two runs at Ladbrokes Park. pic.twitter.com/R3VgYOq25j
— Racing.com (@Racing) August 22, 2018
Both races were small fields. Both were run at Sandown Lakeside. Both times the horse jumped from barrier one. And both times punters were left absolutely steaming post-race.
They say small fields are usually more tactical affairs, and I think it’s fair to say Walker was outpointed on both occasions.
To be fair to Walker, the same tactics of riding the horse on the speed, near the inside, and edging out for a run in the straight had worked to perfection earlier in the year when FH blew his opponents away in a similar level of race.
But not on these occasions. They were stone-cold shockers, and although Walker was livid post-race, trainer Mick Price was surprisingly reserved after watching a moral slip through his fingers again.
Deary, deary me.
The Autumn Sun – Kerrin McEvoy – Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes
The only blemish on The Autumn Sun’s (TAS) record came early in the Spring courtesy of an unwatchable ride from the normally reliable Kerrin McEvoy.
The boom colt was first-up after a few months off when he was turned out as favourite in the Group 2 Stan Fox at Rosehill.
McEvoy was caught on the inside of horse at the top of the straight, so instead of rolling around heels like he did in the Golden Rose, he elected to try and fight through the scrum of bums towards the inside.
He was checked by eventual winner Tarka as they both jostled for room at the 350m mark, with the door to clear air slammed right in his face. He got going late, but it was all in vein.
Watch the butcher below. TAS is wearing the red and green silks.
We all know what happened after that, with the big boy going on to register brilliant wins in the Group 1 Golden Rose and Caulfield Guineas, proving his one and only loss was just an unlucky day out.
Seasons – Tim Clark – 3YO #THERACES Plate
You wouldn’t think a maiden on a Wednesday at Canterbury could cause so much heartache, but think again.
Seasons was cruelly denied a debut victory back in the Autumn courtesy of a shocking steer from experienced rider Tim Clark.
Jumping from barrier one was always going to be a slight concern, but Clark has ample time to push ahead and dictate the race after she sprung well from the gates. Instead he chose to sit, and in doing so let Consider It Done ($3.50 second favourite) cross and box his mount in.
The final 400m was like seeing a car crash – I just couldn’t look away. Watch it here, Seasons is in the red and green from barrier one.
Seasons won brilliantly again over the weekend, extending it’s picket fence to three since this ugly defeat.
Gee Boss – Fiona Bell – Magic Millions Be There Handicap
Gee Boss is an impressive Perth gelding with six wins from it’s 13 career starts.
Unfortunately, apprentice Fiona Bell may never get the opportunity to ride him again, with her effort in the opening week of the year going down as my biggest moral beaten in 2018.
Luckily for the jock, we found the footage. Take a look at the horror show below as Gee Boss jumps from the closest gate in the purple cap.
The horse finally surged through with about 100m to go, but it was far too late.
Gee Boss went on to win it’s next three starts. Thankyou for restoring order Chris Parnham.
A Man To Match – Brad Stewart – QTIS 3YO Handicap
What on Earth was Brad Stewart thinking?
That’s all my brain could muster at the completion of the QTIS Handicap on the Sunshine Coast a few weeks ago when A Man to Match was struck down by a 10/10 horror ride.
The horse was actually one of the first out of the gates, but was quickly snagged back to near last after the first 200m. Stewart thought it’d be a good idea to head back to the rail (you know, shortest way home and all), but before he knew it, he found himself eight lengths back and seeing nothing but horse rump.
Coming into the straight things still looked manageable, until Stewart found every bit of trouble the race had to offer, with poor old Man to Match forced to bump, push and stall it’s way down the entire straight.
It wasn’t bad luck either, moreso trainer Tony Gollan chose the wrong hoop to ride the $3.30 favourite.
Strap yourselves in, because this is ugly, ugly viewing.
Nature Strip – Craig Williams – Yulong Golden Dash
Starvirgo – Jye McNeil – Big Screen Company Handicap
Invincibella – Hugh Bowman – Golden Pendant
Thine Is The Power – Jamie Kah – UBET Handicap