Regan Bayliss has enjoyed one of his best afternoons on a racetrack, producing a brace of outstanding rides to claim a feature race double on one of the biggest days of the Sydney spring.
Bayliss captured the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) aboard the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained outsider Never Been Kissed before bringing Private Eye with a barnstorming finish to claim the time-honoured Epsom Handicap (1600m) just 40 minutes later.
The jockey has been well-travelled and Saturday’s results came just over a year after he relocated to Sydney.
Joe Pride has been one of his fiercest supporters since he made the move and Bayliss was rapt to repay that loyalty.
“It was a massive move for me. I’d been in Melbourne my whole career then to go to Hong Kong, then come to Sydney and try to re-establish myself. It’s been a lot of work,” Bayliss said.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without Joe Pride.
“He was a trainer who put me on good chances in town and I needed to capitalise on a couple of those opportunities.
“I just love this horse Private Eye. He’s been set for the race. Joe knows how to set them for a big one to peak on the day.”
Private Eye ($11) was allowed to find his feet early and Bayliss let him loose in the straight, rocketing down the outside to blouse the leaders and score by a head over Aramayo ($12) with Dalasan ($14) another short half-head away third.
Living and working in one of the local government areas of concern, Pride had to watch the race from his lounge room but the victory was no less sweet.
While he has captured two Doncaster Miles, Pride hadn’t won an Epsom but felt Private Eye had the perfect profile to break his duck.
“You need luck in these Epsoms. They are hard to win but it all panned out beautifully and he has got an engine this horse. He’s a ripper,” Pride said.
“When he won first-up, he signalled to me that day he had come back bigger and better than ever.
“In his last two starts, its just hasn’t worked out for him, but I knew in an Epsom, they are high-pressure races and it would suit him.”
Private Eye still has another goal to tackle this spring with the $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1400m) at Randwick on October 30 the next race on his radar.
But Pride’s immediate focus is on Sunday’s NRL grand final.
The trainer is a staunch South Sydney Rabbitohs fan and he is hoping they can put the icing on the cake to a great weekend.
“Private Eye I am in charge of but Souths, I have no control. It should be a great game,” he said.