A daring ride by apprentice Regan Bayliss has paved the way for imported galloper Pilote D’essai to take out the Ballarat Cup.
Jumping from the third-widest barrier in Saturday’s 2200m Listed race, Bayliss had Pilote D’essai in front soon after leaving the straight.
It was a well-orchestrated plan on a track favouring horses racing on the speed but, more important, on the rails.
Kicking clear on the home turn, Pilote D’essai ($16) was swishing his tail down the Ballarat straight before recording a two-length victory over Scherzoso ($19), with Manageress ($18) three-quarters of a length away in third.
Bayliss said Pilote D’essai had finally lived up to the potential he had shown the stable in his trackwork.
But more pleasing for Bayliss was to win the $300,000 race for Lindsay Park and the “bosses”, David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig.
Bayliss said he was confident of success a long way from home.
“He surprised me how easily he got to the front,” Bayliss said.
“As soon as I crossed Rising Romance and we got around the back I steadied up the speed and let him find his rhythm.
“The way he relaxed underneath me I knew he would give a very good kick.
“He was strong though the line and showed the promise that he showed us in the stable.”
Dabernig said Pilote D’essai had been stirred up in the race-day stalls but put his best foot forward come race time.
Piolte D’essai was purchased from France for Lindsay Park clients and made a huge impression with his debut win at Bendigo in March.
He was expected to be a major spring player but was frustrating the stable following three second placings in five spring outings.
“We were coming in here today with no expectations,” Dabernig said.
“Today he got into the race with a light weight and I think he’s just been looking for ground.
“It was his first time at the trip and our hand was forced to go forward.
“We didn’t expect him to lead but he got there quite easily.”
Dabernig said the 2500m Pakenham Cup on December 3 might be an option for Pilote D’essai now he has struck winning form, although the gelding could also be spelled for a shot at richer races next autumn.