Randwick’s Anzac Day meeting came within one shower of being called off and spoiling the biggest moment in apprentice Sam Clipperton’s life.
Stewards met with jockeys after the fourth race to discuss the conditions which had deteriorated over the afternoon.
Senior riders Corey Brown and Hugh Bowman said they were happy to keep going and jockeys went out for the Dunkirk Handicap (1100m).
It was the moment 17-year-old Clipperton had been nervously awaiting as he was legged aboard Liechtenstein for his first metropolitan ride.
Clipperton need not have worried as the $3.60 favourite was poised to strike at the top of the straight and strode to a 5-3/4 length win over Country Hussle.
Making the victory even more special was that it was for his boss Ron Quinton, a former champion jockey who was quick to praise Clipperton.
“Sam went through the apprentices course we do at Racing NSW and I identified him pretty quick,” Quinton said.
“He is a natural talent. He is still only light at 43 kilos but he will grow and get stronger.”
Clipperton downplayed his role in the win.
“I think a monkey could have sat on his back and won. It was a sit and steer job,” he said.
“But it feels pretty good.
“I was a bit nervous this morning but it all worked out well.”
Quinton said blinkers had helped Liechtenstein who had been ridden by Bowman at his past five starts including a second when favourite at Gosford earlier this month.
“It makes you wonder what Bowman’s been doing on him,” Quinton said good naturedly about one of his former apprentices.
Brown steered the aptly named Rain Affair ($1.70 fav) to an equally impressive victory in the El Alamein Handicap (1000m), also by 5-3/4 lengths.
“He still doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Brown said.
“I reckon he’s still got four or five lengths up his sleeve.”
Rain Affair needed both a strapper and trainer Joe Pride to attend to him in the yard before the race.
“He’s got a lot to learn yet,” Pride said.
Chief steward Ray Murrihy said it was touch and go whether the meeting could go ahead.
“The third race was run in terrible conditions and if we had got another downpour that would have been it,” he said.