Jonathan Riddell says he was a relieved man when he got Cox Plate favourite Jimmy Choux home at short odds in the Spring Classic at Hastings on Saturday.
Jimmy Choux was four lengths off pacemaker Red Ruler with 350m to run of the 2040m Group One race after getting caught three back on the fence
But with Riddell riding hands and heels, Jimmy Choux showed outstanding acceleration to romp past him by the 150m mark and race away for a 1-3/4 length victory from Hold It Harvey and Red Ruler who could not be separated for second.
“I was just relieved more than anything,” Riddell told NZN.
“I wasn’t too concerned about where I was in the run – it was a case of either pushing out or waiting for a run, and I did the latter.
“But he had a bit of ground to make up. I was lucky to have the right horse under me.”
The victory took Jimmy Choux to $5 favouritism on Sunday with Australia’s TAB Sportsbet for the Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Riddell won’t be a total novice when he guides Jimmy Choux around the sometimes tricky Moonee Valley – though he hasn’t ridden it without fences to jump.
“I rode in Melbourne with Eric Musgrove for six months, but that was a long time ago now,” he said.
“I’ll look at the opposition and what other horses can take us into the race, but I’m not too worried about the course as such.
“I’m lucky I have a good horse to ride. It’s quite exciting and I’m really looking forward to the race.”