Punters watching the last race at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday did a quick double-take and then they still had to go and watch the race reply to try and process what they had just seen.
The race favourite Tokoriki Lad got the chocolates alright, but not before giving quite a display in the closing strides. Just as he seemed to have secured victory with an at times slogging but determined, well timed run up the length of the straight … Tokoriki’s head went high with his neck stretched out to the full, pointing to the heavens in a quite dramatic fashion.
Viewed at normal speed, the replay showed the whole episode only took a split second and, with the finishing line right there, Tokoriki Lad’s very unusual antics did not cost him anything and those who had taken bets on him could happily laugh about it afterwards.
In fact, most people at the track had a smile on their faces … while also shaking their heads. Not many had seen something like that in a finish before.
Jockey Jim Byrne tried to offer an explanation, but he basically was as stumped by the incident as the rest of us.
‘I don’t actually know what happened,” said Byrne. “I got a little bit serious with him because the other horse came down the fence. Whether he saw that horse … again, I don’t know because he was going to win pretty comfortably, but then just got his head right up.
“I think he has got a fair bit of character as we have seen previously. He is racing very true and has a very competitive nature … and sometimes I think that competitive nature spills over with other horses.
“He is very calm in the run, but as soon as it comes down to the business end he gets a little bit aggressive. In the saddle you just react to it as you need to and I was paying attention to that so it was only when I pulled up that I thought … did he just get himself beat here?”
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
That would have been quite some way to get beaten!