The Chris Waller trained Jade Marauder won the $125,000, Group 3, Les Johnson Memorial Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday, but the win was aided by a fine ride by Hugh Bowman and gave punters a tough time watching the $3.40 favourite.
Jade Marauder was last out of the barriers not only spoiling the advantage from barrier four, but also giving cause for concern on the Slow 6 track with rain falling as to the filly’s changes of making up the ground.
Bowman though is a master of coolness and he allowed Jade Marauder to settle at the rear racing one off the rails. Up front Nash Rawiller took Kuchinskaya out to a strong lead of 1 1/2L with 600m to run over Roll The Bones and Corey Brown followed by Agueda and Blake Shinn.
Kuchinskaya was 2L ahead as they straightened and headed up the rise. Back at the rear Bowman did not move on Jade Marauder until they came down with 300m to run and with the field having been already split he only had to come to mid-field for a passage.
With 200m to run Kuchinskaya was fading and Gai Waterhouse stablemate Valerio and Tommy Berry took over. However further out Jade Marauder was coming strongly through the misty rain with her previous races of coming from the back giving her the experience of chasing down her opponents.
Jade Marauder and Bowman times it to perfection, picture sportpix.com.au
Bowman judged the distance to perfection with Jade Marauder, racing in the cerise silks of the Ingham family, reaching the front with strides to spare and she had the important win by a long neck.
Valerio (Strategic) held second from a fast finishing Kyria (Encosta de Lago) and Brenton Avdulla, the margin a half-neck. The time was 1.11.27 on the Slow 6 track with the final 600m in 36.71.
Waller confessed that he thought that Jade Marauder’s chances had disappeared with the missed start and the pace of the leader into the main straight.
“We might have to sort her barrier manners out for three weeks’ time, but certainly she has the ability to be running in these races. It was a great win and she is a smart filly,” he said.
“Apart from the start she is a bomb-proof horse and she has shown that in every one of her races. Last start she actually jumped very well and we rode her back and maybe she just go into a bit of a habit. I am sure she will be fine. In a pressure race like the Golden Slipper and running on speed it is going to suit a filly like her. We will just keep her in cotton wool.
“The Ingham’s have been terrific supporters of mine and they have helped me grow to the position where we are now, so to have that kind of support is amazing. The whole family take such an interest and most of them are here today.
“They are the best sportsmen you could ever train for and like the rest of our owners they enjoy their sport. They take the wins and the losses equally,” he said.
“She deserved that,” said Bowman.
“She ran really well the other day and she is an improving type and she deserves her chance sat the Slipper.
“It took me awhile to get into stride and I was happy enough when we settled down. It was alright, we got through,” he said with some understatement.
Jade Marauder was second over 1200m at Rosehill on February 11th after being restrained from a wide barrier. Third in the listed Gimcrack Stakes over 1000m at Randwick in October she now has the senior black type win plus a guaranteed place in the field for the $3.5m, Group 1, AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 7th after Saturday’s win.
The filly is by Fastnet Rock out of the Jade Robbery mare Jade Diva and this was her fourth race and second win. Earnings are now $160,300.
Photo finish Group 3 Les Johnson Memorial Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m), picture ATC