Jarrod Fry has made the most of a rare metropolitan opportunity, guiding Rocket Tommy to victory at Flemington.
Fry had ridden the sprinter in his previous seven victories and wasn’t going to miss the chance of riding him in Saturday’s Ken Cox Handicap (1000m).
Following a double on the opening day of the three-day Swan Hill carnival on Friday, Fry could have had multiple rides at the country venue on Saturday.
But after riding Rocket Tommy to trial wins at Kerang and Bendigo in the lead-up, Fry was well placed to know how the gelding was progressing.
“Even though I probably would have had a full book at Swan Hill, I didn’t want to pass up this opportunity,” Fry said.
“I don’t get that many opportunities in town so you’ve got to make them count and hopefully someone will throw you a bone.”
A drifter in betting from $9.50 to $11, Rocket Tommy scored a three-quarter-length win over Saxophone ($41), with Labuan Star ($4.40) a half-length away third.
Rocket Tommy is trained at Echuca by Gwenda Johnstone and husband Mick, a former jockey, drew the short straw in bringing the gelding to Melbourne.
He said Gwenda had the easier trip from their home base to Swan Hill, where she was saddling three runners.
But Johnstone said the trip was worthwhile, adding he hoped to be back in a fortnight with Rocket Tommy to contest another leg of the All Victorian Sprint Series and possibly the final at Flemington on July 7.
“The final’s over 1200 metres here,” Johnstone said.
“The trip might be a bit too far but he likes the straight so if you’re in it, you’ve got to have a go.”
Rocket Tommy was preparing for a tilt at feature sprint races last spring but didn’t perform to expectations.
Following a trial last October, the decision was made to send him for a spell.
“The class he was going to race against was going to be too good,” Johnstone said.
“So we gave him a good spell and brought him back for a winter program, which we think will suit him better.
“There’s good prize money and hopefully he’ll prove he’s up to them.”