Jockey Stephanie Thornton continues to ride on the crest of a wave and a superb ride in the QTIS Jewel Three-Year-Old literally had her smiling even before her mount, the very smart Simply Fly, crossed the line.
This was Thornton’s second successive win in The QTIS Jewel Three-Year-Old, having won the race last year aboard The Odyssey.
Thornton has built up a remarkable relationship with Simply Fly, the Rex Lipp trained son of Spirit Of Boom, having been in the saddle in five of Simply Fly’s six wins … which have come in only eight career starts.
During that time, Simply Fly has won over distances from 800m to 1200m, on good going through soft to heavy going.
He is the real deal … as his come from last victory underlined in no uncertain terms on Saturday where none of the beaten runners could have any excuse for having to play a minor part in the Simply fly show.
Simply Fly ($15) had all fifteen of his rivals in front of him in the sweep to the home turn. Thornton angled the gelding wide on straightened and Simply Fly initially raced with his head to one side while Thornton plotted the path on which they would launch such a telling finishing burst.
That was to be right down the outside and, once set about his business coming past the 200m mark, Simply Fly produced rare acceleration to zoom past all ten of the runners who were still ahead of her at that stage, in the end gathering in the $26 chance Zingalong inside the final 75m after that runner had been hailed the winner with 150m left to run.
“Earlier in his career he just wanted to jump and run and we just had to teach him to settle … and now he might have overdone it,” said trainer Rex Lipp. “The instructions were to let him be up there running midfield or something … but then the last thing I said to Stephanie (Thornton) was, ‘you ride your own race.’ And where were we … out the back.
“He has got a sensational finish on him and she rode him beautifully. They have got a bond. She knows him … and I think that is a big thing.
And, as for that smile that Thornton carried over the line … well, understandably, she couldn’t get it off her face.
“I tell you what … he is a very special horse this bloke,” said Thornton. “He has come a long way this prep.
“I call him my little devil child because he has got 8000 tricks and I never know what he is going to throw at me each time I sit on his back … but I’m really proud of everything he has done this prep.
“The way he has been racing this prep has really taught him to settle. We were happy to ride him a little bit more forward today if the opportunity presented itself, but he didn’t want to go. He was happy out the back doing his thing and I let him be.
‘They were going like hot cats up front which suited me to me to a tee. With that track (the heavy going), I haven’t seen any horse do what he did today which makes it even more impressive.
“As I said, he has come a very long way and I think he has got a lot more to give which is very exciting.”