Ace French rider Gerald Mosse warmed up for one of the potential highlight moments of his career in the Melbourne Cup tomorrow by book-ending the Happy Valley Halloween meeting, but not before getting a fright.
Mosse will climb aboard the Alain de Royer Dupre-trained Americain in the Melbourne Cup and the Geelong Cup winner has been constantly firming in discussions on the race since that win and the coming of the wet weather.
'I don't know the form or the opposition for the race,' Mosse said. 'But I know my horse has had a fantastic preparation and his win last time showed me great potential.
'He is good if the ground is good, but he will not be disturbed if it is soft ground. It is never easy to win these kinds of races anywhere in the world - a big field, tough competition, but I will go into the race with some confidence.'
Mosse won for Michael Chang Chun-wai on Towkay Flyer in the opening Class Four, then had to wait until nine races later to complete the double when the Caspar Fownes-trained Mark Up landed the final event, despite being headed by 96-1 chance Leo's Pride.
'I got a surprise when Leo's Pride went past me at the 200m because, well, I have ridden him and won on him and let's just say I was surprised because my horse is quite a nice horse,' Mosse said.
'But because I knew Leo's Pride, I knew that he always shortens stride in the last 100m anyway, so I was sure Mark Up would come back and outstay him. Mark Up is going to better over a bit longer and in time - he is still a bit young in the mind.'
Fownes said the condition of the track had forced a rethink on tactics with the dominant favourite Mark Up, who helped his mentor claim his 400th career win in Hong Kong.
'I think he's a better horse ridden quietly but all day the jockeys who rode my horses were coming back and telling me the track was hard like a road, and the leading horses were winning all the races,' Fownes said.
'The winter grass is coming through and perhaps the surface was cut too short, but they were feeling it. And when it was favouring leaders, we had to take a position on Mark Up and he was versatile enough to do it.'
Earlier, Mosse had led all the way on Towkay Flyer, who was having only his third run for Chang, and managed his first win since December 2008.
'He is a limited horse but Michael has him racing well and I'm happy that I could get him to win,' said Mosse, who has now had six rides on the gelding for a win, two seconds and two thirds.