A great ride and some great advocacy in the stewards room from Jim Cassidy saw the John Thomspon-trained Longport notched a deserved win in the $175,000 Group 2 Coolmore Tea Rose Stakes (1500m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Jim Cassidy (yellow cap) urges Longport to victory in the Tea Rose, picture sportpix.com.au
Cassidy combined with Longport when the filly debuted back in February but had been on a break since the fillies return, with Christian Reith jumping in the saddle. However back from a break Cassidy was on board again and it turned into a memorable reunion.
The pair jumped well from a good draw then went straight to the lead dictating the terms of the race. Flying Snitzel (Bowman) pushed up from a wide draw and sat outside Longport while Norzita (Brown) sat midfield in fifth floating one off the fence.
Little changed in the run until Cassidy started to rev up Longport at the 600m and make his rivals chase. Approaching the turn Longport was rolling along strongly while her rivals started started to wind up.
In the straight Cassidy went for home and Longport managed to find more. Norzita came five wide around the corner and quickly cruised up to Longport passing the 300m and the race looked as good as over; but nobody told Longport.
While most were expecting Norzita to go straight on by, Longport kept responding to Cassidy’s urgings. Passing the 200m Longport shifted out to meet Norzita and that is when things started to change.
As Longport came out, Norzita came in and the pair slightly brushed. From that point Norzita began to shift in and Longport shifted with her. Passing the 50m Cassidy had Longport going straight but Norzita continued to shift and the pair bumped.
The bump was almost next to nothing but the margin when the pair reached the finishing line was less than next to nothing. Cassidy argued the point with the stewards and won.
Officially the margin was a nose between the pair with a length and a half to Jade Marauder in third. The overall time was 1.29.33 with the last 600m run in 35.78.
“It is not nice to win races in those circumstances, but that is our filly, when she gets headed she really fights back,” Thompson said.
“People may think that horse was going to run straight past her, but she is a real fighter.
“That horse ran us in three horses and the margin was a nose so fairs fair.
“I feel sorry for the old boss (Bart Cummings) but we need it more than him.”
“It is always tough to lose them out there and have to win them in there. But they are the rules, you have to stick by them and we all play by the same rules. Every horse is entitled to run to the line and I was not given that, so there were grounds for protest and I put a pretty good case across and got the verdict,” said Cassidy.
Longport is by Casino Prince out of the Dolphin Street (FR) mare Ocean Bridge and is owned by Nathan Tinklers Patinack Farm Racing Syndicate.