James McDonald has produced the ride of his young life to win the world’s richest race for two-year-olds on Mossfun on a wet Rosehill track.
The filly missed the start but McDonald kept calm as his pre-race plans to be in a handy position fell apart, knowing he had a filly who could handle the heavy track and was prepared to the minute by training partners John Hawkes and his sons Michael and Wayne.
And he took a little advice from an old hand, champion rider Jim Cassidy who watched from the sidelines due to suspension.
“It didn’t all go to plan,” McDonald said.
“When the gates opened I just couldn’t believe it. I was in shock but then I thought about John (Hawkes) and what he said to Michael who relayed the instructions on – just dont panic, sit back and do your thing and let her do the rest.
“And that’s what she did. She’s a super two-year-old.
“I’ve also got to thank Jimmy Cassidy who actually told me if you’re going good, hug the rail.
“He said to have a look at the fence. Have a punt, have a go, show your Kiwi qualities and that’s what I did.
“I had no choice after she missed the start but when it comes off it’s amazing.
“I can’t believe I won it.”
Win it he did as Mossfun ($5.50) kept digging deep on the fence as the favourite Earthquake ($2.40) took the lead out wide.
The margin between the pair was three-quarters of a length with Bring Me The Maid ($11) another length third.
In a year when fillies have dominated the juvenile ranks, they filled the first seven places in the 16-horse field.
A year ago, Trevor Lobb bought two youngsters for his boss, Dubai businessman Nasser Lootah who owns Emirates Park in the NSW Hunter Valley.
One was a $4 million colt who has yet to get to the races, the other an $85,000 filly who has been beaten just once.
Nasser Lootah was on hand at Rosehill for his biggest moment of a 25-year investment in Australian racing.
“There is nothing better than this,” he said.
“This is my biggest win here by far.”
John Hawkes, who won two Golden Slippers as head trainer for Crown Lodge, was nowhere to be seen, preferring to leave the limelight to his sons.
“There would probably have been a few expletives after she missed it,” Michael Hawkes said.
“Full credit to Dad. It’s just a big team effort between Sydney and Melbourne.
“We’ve had our ups and downs and when you gel as a team, that is what it is all about.”
Peter Snowden spent many years as foreman for John Hawkes before becoming the head trainer for Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Australia which he leaves next month to begin a new venture with his son Paul.
His successes for Darley include this year’s Blue Diamond Stakes with Earthquake and he was proud of the filly’s effort.
“She did her best,” he said.