Viridine has made a successful beginning to his racing career at Rosehill, with New Zealand jockey Rory Hutchings also enjoying a fresh start.
Hutchings was thrown off as the two-year-old colt returned to scale – and the stewards are studying his ride over the latter stages of the Fresh For Kids Handicap (1100m) – but those issues hardly detracted from Viridine’s win by a nose over Envy Of All, the $3.80 Crownbet favourite.
The Mark Newham-trained Ipso Facto ($17) was third, three-quarters of a length further back.
After well-documented weight issues, Hutchings made the most of his first Saturday meeting in Sydney since November by notching his maiden win for the Godolphin stable.
He returned from New Zealand in April after a two-month break and was rapt to be entrusted with one of the last runners to race alongside John O’Shea’s name.
Hutchings said the trip home had whetted his appetite for a return to Saturday meetings over winter.
“Weight got the better of me and when you lose too much weight going to the races, you lose the hunger for the game a bit,” he said.
“I’m coming good. I rode 57 (kilograms) then. I’m happy with the progress and the way it’s going.”
Hutchings joked he would have “copped an earful” had Viridine not scored, although stewards questioned him about possible interference to Josh Parr’s mount Manipulate at the 300m mark delaying the inquiry until later in the day.
“He’s got plenty of upside and he’s still very new,” Hutchings said after he walked back to weigh in.
“He ducked out underneath me. I was half asleep, he got me. He was just playing around, being a colt,” he said after Viridine reared up past the post.
Godolphin assistant trainer Paul Reid, who is handling the Rosehill team while new interim head trainer Darren Beadman is on the Gold Coast, was impressed with Viridine’s effort.
“He might find his way to Queensland. He showed today he’s got some good ability and there’s good improvement in him,” he said.