Dreamforce’s win has sealed an unprecedented treble for Blaike McDougall at Randwick, but the apprentice has had anything but an easy ride.
The 23-year-old looked exhausted after riding Newtown Bluebag to victory in the card-opening Highway Handicap, and after Dreamforce claimed the Maroubra Mile for trainer John Thompson, McDougall was in no mood to celebrate with his boss.
His post-race assessment as he wavered to the jockeys’ room amounted to: “I’m buggered”.
McDougall was livelier after rehydrating, and was naturally buoyed by his first Saturday metropolitan treble.
“This feels like a long day coming. I probably should have got four. I was a bit stiff on (top weight) Machinegun Jubs.”
Tip Top provided McDougall’s second win and then he made sure the arduous effort to get down to 51kg for Dreamforce was worthwhile.
“On Thursday night I was in hospital with my little baby, then I drove to Port Macquarie races on my own for seven rides and although I rode a winner that didn’t make the drive home any easier,” he said.
McDougall shed the final 1-1/2 kilograms before arriving at Randwick in a fragile state.
“Coming here today I can’t hear properly, my ears are going in and out, my hips are shot but I think it was worth it,” he said.
“I’ll have a couple of drinks tonight, stretch my legs in the morning and go to the beach with my girls.”
Thompson appreciated the sacrifices made by his apprentice, who has another 12 months with the Randwick-based trainer.
“To be honest the stewards ride him a bit. He seems to be in their eyes all the time,” Thompson said.
“They’re always inquiring into his rides. He’s that sort of kid, he’s very relaxed and calm.
“They chip him about that but no one chips Hugh Bowman about it. He’s a good kid and can ride.”
Thompson praised McDougall for not getting swept up in a mid-race duel with fellow apprentice James Innes Jr and Coolring.
“It was a smart ride, Blaike didn’t fall into a speed battle there,” he said.
“He let him cruise along and it looked all over coming round the corner.”
Dreamforce, the $2.25 favourite, built an insurmountable lead before fast-finishing Morton’s Fork ($4) trimmed the margin to a length. Liapari ($8.50) also made up ground late to take third, three lengths further back.