Apprentice Samantha Clenton has celebrated a milestone win with Howmuchdoyouloveme claiming the Takeover Target Stakes at Gosford.
In a season that keeps getting better for the Hunter Valley-based rider, the Listed success is Clenton’s first at stakes level.
But it wasn’t as easy as a clear-cut winning margin suggested with Howmuchdoyouloveme ($15) having the hardest run in the race before beating Slots ($19) by a length.
Favourite Rule The River ($3) was chasing her fifth-straight win but finished a half length away in third.
“For him to win after covering so much ground, it’s a big effort,” Clenton said.
Howmuchdoyouloveme finished down the course in the Canterbury Classic but Clenton said the veteran sprinter was on top of his game on Friday.
“Last start he just wasn’t himself … and today he was back bouncing around being his old self,” she said.
A seven-year-old, Howmuchdoyouloveme advanced his earnings past $700,000 in posting the fifth stakes win of a 32-start career.
Trainer Joe Pride’s flying start to 2016 continued with a stakes double, including Destiny’s Kiss’ win in the $150,000 Gosford Gold Cup.
Destiny’s Kiss settled second last in the field of six but he was the strongest horse when it mattered in beating Award Season and Dream Folk.
“I told Jason he was on the best stayer in the race it panned out beautifully,” Pride said.
Earlier, Ammirata got the nod in a four-way finish to win the Group Three Belle Of The Turf for Pride and jockey Sam Clipperton.
Looking unlikely to figure as the field of fillies and mares straightened for the finish, Ammirata was lifted across the line by Clipperton.
Mary Lou took second from the third-placed dead-heaters Holy Delusions and Kellyville Flyer.
“It’s a very important win in her career and she’s only had eleven starts so it’s all upside with her,” Pride said.
Pride’s black-type double made it six winners for his Warwick Farm stable since New Year’s Day.