Happy Lucky Dragon Win
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 November, 2013, 6:58pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 November, 2013, 8:52pm
Mosse: absolutely brilliant one day, three-deep no cover the next
Other than the overly scrutinised Douglas Whyte, there isn’t a jockey that attracts more criticism from punters than Gerald Mosse. However, there may not be a rider more capable of an almost artistic brilliance in a high stakes staying race than the Frenchman.
It’s inevitable that Whyte would be the target of the punters’ scorn at Sha Tin and Happy Valley. A tick under half the horses he rides are either first or second favourites, and they can’t all win, so regardless of how the Durban Demon is actually riding, he will still cop plenty from the voracious crowds.
The gripe from some punters with Mosse is that he seems to get stuck wide with no cover more often than most and shows a lack of urgency in lower grade races. We will never have any real proof of the first claim unless Trakus starts working, but Mosse certainly seems to save some superb rides for special occasions. There was A$6.2 million on offer in last Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup with rich prizemoney down to 10th so there was no questioning anyone’s, let alone Mosse’s, intensity.
The Frenchman’s effort in defeat on 60-1 shot Red Cadeaux in the Cup is worth another look, for it’s hard to imagine how he could have ridden the Ed Dunlop-trained, Ron Arculli-owned horse any better.
This sits beside a Red Cadeaux highlight reel that includes another ground saving effort to finish second in the world’s richest race this year, the Dubai World Cup, and a similarly flawless effort to win last year’s Longines Hong Kong Vase.
Last Sunday at Sha Tin, just before leaving for Australia, Mosse was under the impression he had drawn three. Alas, that was his saddle-cloth number, and he was less than pleased when it was confirmed that he would be jumping from gate 23. After a few moments of disappointment, he quickly turned his attitude around and remarked, “Well, while ever I am not sitting in the jockeys’ room, I am a chance.”
The positive outlook was clear from the start. Rather than take a hold from the second widest barrier and be held hostage to a possible slow tempo or the inevitable road blocks that come with going back in a 24-horse field, Mosse daringly drove forward.
It’s a fine line between a train wreck and a work of art when it comes to searching forward from the second widest gate in Australia’s richest race, and this could have easily gone the way of the former, but the move is executed with purpose and 100 per cent commitment. Red Cadeaux is still the widest runner halfway up the straight the first time, but when they reach the winning post with a lap to go, he has slotted into a two-wide spot next to old running mate Dunaden.
Down the back Mosse sees Mourayan stuck wide and latches on to his back. There’s still around half the race to go at this point and many riders would have stuck to comfortable one-off spots like robots. Not Mosse.
After Mourayan carts him forward to the point of the turn, Mosse notices his helper begin to tire in front of him and peels into clear ground.
There’s a bit of luck involved, but if Fiorente had remained stuck in the pocket that Damien Olivier extricated himself from by pushing past the weakening Royal Empire, then we might be talking about one of the greatest Melbourne Cup upsets of the modern era, not just an amazing ride in defeat.
Mosse has polarised punters down under too. He became an instant celebrity in Australia when Americain won the 150th running of its most famous race - again, with a sensational ride. That time, wet ground and suitable circumstances meant being trapped deep may have been advantageous. The following year he was criticised for being too far back on the same horse, before Sydney punters got burnt badly when Mosse sat three deep no cover on the horse before being beaten as short-priced favourite in the Tancred Stakes.
The 46-year-old Mosse has won more than 50 Group One races in Europe, filling out a career resume that includes a win in the Arc (Saumarez, 1990) and a full set of French classics. In his second home, he’s built a nice resume too: three Hong Kong Derbies, a Champions Mile victory with Bullish Luck in 2005 and three Group One successes on Beauty Flash in the Hong Kong Mile, Stewards’ Cup, and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup in 2010/11 among many successes.
In fact, Mosse is the only jockey to have won every International Group One on the Hong Kong calendar with wins in all four races on International Day, plus victories in the Champions Mile and QEII Cup. If you throw in the defunct Hong Kong Bowl, the forerunner to the Hong Kong Mile, then Mosse has a record that will never be broken, winning all seven of the International Group Ones.
Do you want to be on Mosse when drawn wide over 1,200m at Happy Valley? Maybe not, but when there is a big prize on the line in a staying race, who else would you want? There’s not too many ahead of Gerald Mosse.