A bold mid-race move and a sustained run home proved to be the winning formula for the Mark Newnham trained Skymax in the Australia Day Cup which was contested over 2400m at Warwick Farm.
Jockey Robbie Dolan pushed Skymax (the $2.80 favourite) to the head of affairs mid-race, throwing the gauntlet down to his rivals who now had to force their way past him if they were to lower his colours.
Most found that task too hard to achieve and it was left to Wolfe (the $5 second favourite) to pose the only threat to Skymax down the home straight. It was a spirited two-horse battle to the line but Skymax always held the advantage and was not to be denied as he prevailed in a gutsy performance.
Equally as gallant was the second placed Wolfe who was carrying 59kg … 6kg more than the weight carried by Skymax.
“It was a great race,” said Mark Newnham. “A great ride.
“He didn’t begin as well as we hoped, so he was in a tricky position, but Robbie rode the race to suit the horse with a nice light weight and made it a good contest.
“He has been a really nice horse for the stable in the short time we have had him. We have got him up to Listed grade now. We have had a really good run through the summer in these types of races and he still has improvement to come.
‘Josh (Parr) has been doing a good job on him, but when you get down to 53kg Robbie is a really good replacement. He rode a very good race.”
Robbie Dolan explained his ride.
“It initially didn’t work out the way we planned. Plans A, B and C went out the window. We were down to about Plan Z at one stage. We had plenty of plans.
“In fairness to Mark (Newnham), he summed the horse up one hundred percent for me. I mean I’d never sat on this horse before. Josh (Parr), after doing all of the work on him couldn’t do the weight today.
“He is nice horse going forward.
“He didn’t really get tired that last little bit. He was sort of just waiting for someone to help him along and he was back on the bridle again going through the line … so he will definitely get further again.”