Lilliburlero slumped to her first defeat at Canterbury on Saturday with chief steward Ray Murrihy critical of Glyn Schofield’s tactics on the odds-on favourite during part of the race.
Lilliburlero ($1.75) rallied late to finish third in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1550m) but was safely beaten by the John Thompson-trained Ferment ($9.50) with leader Eye The World ($4.60) holding on for second.
The favourite wasn’t the best away in the five-horse field and was then caught behind the leader on the fence as Christian Reith made a winning move on Ferment early to keep Lilliburlero in a pocket.
Schofield eased Lilliburlero back another length in the back straight as he wanted to get one off the fence but in doing so he engaged in a bumping duel with Corey Brown’s mount Sir Berus.
That decision was met with criticism from Murrihy who said Schofield had to “play the cards you’re dealt” and he would have been better served staying in the box-seat and seeing how the race unfolded.
“Your tactics in coming back and getting in a jostling match for close to 400 metres was overdoing it,” Murrihy told Schofield.
“We say you erred in riding in that manner.”
The Nathan Tinkler-owned Ferment was on a quick back-up after finishing sixth in a race against older horses at Warwick Farm last Saturday.
He appreciated a drop back to his own age and was able to take advantage of a good ride from Reith to notch his third win in his 10th start.
“That’s how you’ve got to ride these races, especially small fields,” Reith said.
“You’ve got to ride to give your horse the best chance and tactically hopefully you can undo some of the fancies.”