JOE PRIDE was left stunned when the trainer’s warhorse, Vision And Power, thundered home to win the famed Doncaster Mile at Randwick yesterday.
For owner Nick Moraitis, whose galloper Might And Power won races such as the Caulfield and Melbourne cups and the Cox Plate, it was a moment to dream about.
For jockey Jim Cassidy it was another triumph. A time to give thanks to his personal trainer, the veteran Malcolm Ayoub. A time to thank Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy for allowing him to ride Vision And Power half a kilogram over weight.
The grand slam-winning jockey, who was aboard Might And Power in the above triumphs, has been in sensational form, claiming group 1s at each of the past three Saturdays. Cassidy hadn’t wasted so hard to ride at 51.5kg for a long time.
"I knew it wouldn’t stop me if I remained strong of mind," Cassidy said before thanking Ayoub, who arrived from Perth to punish the jockey in early morning weight-reducing sessions at the Coogee RSL Club.
"I’ve been sucking on a grapefruit from Moraitis’s for a week," said Cassidy, who must now choose between Vision And Power and his AJC Australian Derby winner Roman Emperor in next Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.
Moraitis wondered aloud: "Am I still dreaming, I can’t believe this has happened again."
When asked about Cassidy, he replied: "He says it all himself. He has been unbelievable, he has been loyal, he is a real knockabout, Jimmy. He is a man’s man and he has ridden that horse to perfection again. He is class."
For the 36-year-old Pride it was a career highlight. He might never have touched a horse until he was 20 but Pride is on the rise.
"There are three races I’d like to win and this is one of them," Pride said – the others being the Melbourne Cup and the Cox Plate. "I’ve watched these growing up as a punter … you don’t even think you could win one."
Vision And Power has won the Goerge Ryder and Doncaster in consecutive starts, both group 1 races.
"It is unbelievable, I can’t believe this horse has done it," Pride said. "To go to the level he has gone to today is a fantastic performance.
"Great for my team at home, I’m just so proud of the horse."
Pride admitted having concern in the run, as Vision And Power was back and wide, but said: "He has this explosive finish. The last 200 metres was freakish."
Vision And Power was able to fend off the Con Karakatsanis-trained Black Piranha, which made its run down the outside of the track with the very unlucky Whobegotyou.
"The horse has run super," Karakatsanis said. "It is remarkable to run second in a Doncaster, but he is such an honest horse, he tried his heart out."
Connections of Whobegotyou viewed the stewards’ video in the hope of lodging a protest.
"There wasn’t enough to believe stewards would uphold a protest," Whobegotyou’s trainer Mark Kavanagh said.
"There was enough to say, he was deadset unlucky, several runs didn’t open. We’ll put it down to the one that got away."