The Gai Waterhouse trained filly More Joyous (NZ) was backed as unbeatable for the $150,000, Group Two, Jim Beam Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday, paying just $1.10 on NSW TAB and fixed odds punters receiving slightly more at $1.20, but it was not a reflection of the race at all.
The weather at the mid-west racecourse, the most attractive metropolitan racecourse around, was typically warm and humid and More Joyous was showing the effects noticeably sweating up before the race. However, she was still expected to run away with the race.
From barrier five Nash Rawiller sent More Joyous forward racing one off the rails to take the lead but not extending her. Inside Stathi Katsidis brought Sweepstaking up inside More Joyous and outside Glyn Schofield was right there with Hurtle Myrtle as they turned for the run home.
More Joyous and Rawiller were in the middle of the track and the famed acceleration was being waited on when the complexion of the raced changed.
Schofield was alongside on Hurtle Myrtle and they were not going away. Rawiller urged More Joyous forward hands and heels and the filly responded, but Hurtle Myrtle matched it.
The punter who had placed $70,000 at $1.22 with a bookmaker, and the massive public interest in the filly with the NSW TAB win pool holding $262,801, and most of it on More Joyous, over the place of $71,780, would have been watching with intense interest.
Rawiller knew the urgency as well, and he drew the stick. Side by side the two fillies raced and eventually More Joyous gained a slight advantage and she held on for a half-neck win over a gallant Hurtle Myrtle (Dane Shadow).
So Anyway (General Nediym) and apprentice Brenton Avdulla were third, the margin 2 3/4L. The time was 1.23.64 on the upgraded Slow (6) track, and the final 600m in 35.25.
More Joyous (NZ) and Nash Rawiller hold back Hurtle Myrtle and Glyn Schofield (red and white), picture Sportpix.com.au.
Owner John Singleton was not on-course, leaving duties to his racing manager Duncan Grimley.
“He went for her and she responded, but Hurtle Myrtle ran a great race,” said Grimley.
“Maybe the first run took a little bit out of her and she might have been left a bit wanting for this,” he said.
Grimley refused to blame the slow track saying that More Joyous has raced on heavy and slow tracks previously. He put the filly sweating down to the conditions although the filly has not got herself into that condition before.
“You would have thought she would have won a little but easier than that,” he said.
“There was not much in it and both fillies ran very well,” said Matthew Smith of Hurtle Myrtle’s run.
“I thought we were in a lot of strife at the furlong (200m). I would say that she had a fair bit against her today as she sweated up pretty bad, and she did not get any favours in the run with Stathi getting inside us and made us work a little bit more,” said Rawiller.
“I was just wrapt to see her get up and I definitely liked the way she found. You obviously try and keep a kick up your sleeve and I thought it was a genuinely run race and it was a good effort in the end,” he said.
More Joyous is booked on a passage towards the Group One Emirates Doncaster Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on April 17th where Glen Boss will ride her at the 49.5kg weight as Rawiller cannot ride at that weight.
Throughout her campaign she will carry special colours representing the Bowel and Prostate Cancer Campaign, as will all the Singleton and Gerry Harvey horses racing over Sydney Racing Carnival of the next two months.
More Joyous is by More Than Ready out of one of Singleton’s outstanding broodmares, Sunday Joy by Sunday Silence. She has won six of her nine starts, with one third place, and stakes of $731,950.