Shock tactics and daring front running rides brought about breakthrough results in consecutive races for Berlini and Joyful Moments but veteran jockey Gerald Mosse was dealt a costly suspension for his effort on the first of those winners.
Berlini hadn’t won in six starts this season but had ran on well from the tail in most of his starts and with the horse drawn 14 in a race lacking true speed, David Hall sensed an opportunity to send his horse forward for the first time at career start 23.
“He had the wide gate, but it was against his pattern so it was a big decision to go forward. But I had a good think about it and today was the right time to do it,” Hall said. “He had no horses on his outside and he had his own time to get there in a mile race with that long run down the back straight.
“I spoke to Gerald, spoke to the owner and I was confident it would work out well, but if you saw the owner’s face and even Gerald’s face when I told him, they might have looked a bit worried.”
The fear from Hall was that asking Berlini for an effort early would result in the horse overracing, which has happened in the past.
“He settled well though, so maybe there is another string to his bow and he won’t be so one-dimensional, and maybe even more than a mile will be an option,” he said.
The move worked out perfectly from a results standpoint, even if the execution was a little askew from Mosse, who was given a careless riding suspension for not leaving sufficient room when crossing to the rail on the six-year-old.
Mosse is already rumoured to be under pressure to retain his licence beyond the start of May, when his stable retainer jockey agreement with trainer Manfred Man Ka-leung ends, and he was already set to miss almost all of April with a separate seven-day ban.
The latest ban has been deferred until after the Champions Mile meeting on May 1, which could turn out to be Mosse’s last as a retained rider if he cannot convince either Man, or the club, to extend his licence.
After Berlini’s effort, maybe it shouldn’t have been so much of a surprise to see Joyful Moments stride to the front under Zac Purton - although it was still a shock to trainer Richard Gibson.
“I told him not to hit the front too soon,” Gibson said after his four-year-old withstood some early pressure to make all in a 1,400m Class Three.
“Obviously, I didn’t do as I was told,” said Purton, who said he was left with little option other than to go to the front. “I wanted to be positive, although not necessarily lead, but in the end he began so well and there was a line of six horses and it was either go on with it, drag him right back or get posted wide. On pace seemed to have some sort of advantage so I was comfortable going with the flow.”