A race day phone call from Gai Waterhouse has inspired Tim Clark to produce a daring ride on In The Congo and in doing so pinch victory in the Group 1 Golden Rose.
Clark revealed that while his plan was always to lead, he wanted to give the colt a mid-race rest before setting him alight around the turn.
But Waterhouse had other ideas.
“I had a conversation with Gai on the way here and I said to her, ‘I’ll roll to the first turn and might just try and get a breather’. She said, ‘don’t you dare’,” Clark said.
“She said, ‘you keep him running and use his speed because it can win you the race’.
“So I did that and we pulled it off.”
In The Congo set a solid tempo and strung the field out before giving a good kick once he balanced for home.
Anamoe ($1.90 fav) emerged from the pack to give chase but Clark had stolen too big a break and In The Congo ($7.50) held on to win the 1400m feature by long head.
Coastwatch ($26) underlined his promise with a solid third, another 1-1/2 lengths in arrears
In The Congo capped an incredible afternoon for Clark and Tulloch Lodge trainers Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, giving them a feature race treble after they combined for earlier stakes victories with Entente in the Colin Stephen Quality (2400m) and Vangelic in the Golden Pendant (1400m).
“We’ve built up a really strong partnership,” Clark said.
“It’s a real honour to be riding for the stable and days like today are very special.”
A son of top stallion Snitzel, In The Congo has finished in the top two in all four runs this campaign.
A typically tough, on-pace Tulloch Lodge runner, the colt has surprised Bott with his ability to keep improving.
“He wears his heart on his sleeve every time he steps out. He was deserving of a tough victory like this,” Bott said.
“We have kept raising the bar from when he stepped out in the off season in the winter and through the early stages of the spring. We set him goals and he kept delivering.”
Anamoe lost nothing in defeat and while deflated by the result, jockey James McDonald was thrilled with the Godolphin colt’s performance.
“He was primed for the race, he looked fantastic, he went great. Disappointing we went down but he will live to fight another day,” McDonald said.
In The Congo ran the 1400 metres in a time of 1:21.46, eclipsing the race record set by Exosphere (2015) by more than half a second.
It was Tulloch Lodge’s first victory in the Group 1 race since it became known as the Golden Rose in 2003.