The $100,000 MRC Neds Money Back Odds Handicap (1600m) on the Caulfield program in Melbourne saw a major boil-over when odds-on favourite Sikorsky (by Pierro) found one too good for him in the form of 14/1 outsider All Too Huiying (by All Too Hard).
A heavily backed $1.85 punters elect, Sikorsky settled into the race with the minimum of fuss and appeared to be travelling sweetly for his partner Damien Oliver, who seemed to have the early stages of the race well and truly under control.
However, the contest then took an unexpected twist when the hot favourite seemed to take charge of his veteran rider and soon found himself sitting outside of the leader, a situation which was compounded by the fact that he was also racing a tad too keenly.
Once asked for his winning effort well into the straight, Sikorsky never appeared to be doing well enough to shake off his rivals and was ultimately left exposed to the strong, late finish of All Too Huiying who went on to score by a narrow margin.
In another close finish on today's Caulfield program, No Say In It (by Smart Missile) and Bartholomeu Dias (GB) closed late for third and fourth respectively, the first four horses across the line all finishing less than a length of each other.
All Too Huiying and apprentice Michael Poy, picture Racing Photos
Trained by Phillip Stokes out of his Pakenham stables, All Too Huiying had more recently been campaigned in strong Adelaide company and the much respected horseman suggested that the result wasn’t totally unexpected.
As Stokes explained: “In Adelaide he was racing in good races, like the RA Lee Stakes last start. He’s been off the scene for a while. He’s building his fitness up and young [Michael] Poy gave him a good ride. He was strong late.”
Stokes added: “I think he’s a horse that we’ll step up to 2000m now. He’s found form, but he’s still a stallion — that might have something to do with it.”
All Too Huiying was ridden to success by apprentice jockey Michael Poy who naturally praised the 5-year-old entire for his effort.
“He was good and strong to the line,” claimed Poy.
“On the way to the gates he was carrying his head quite high and gave me an awkward ride on the way to the barriers. So I was inclined not to get him out and dig him up out of the gates. I just had him where he was happy.
“He came back in my lap a bit and got on the chewy for a few strides, but when I asked him to let down he went super and straightened. Hopefully he can stay in Melbourne and go on with it.”
Asked to explain the performance of the short-priced favourite Sikorsky, co-trainer Peter Hayes replied: “There’s no excuses. The tempo was against him and we were caught when trying to slot in, but had to go outside the leader which left him there as a sitting shot. It was a good run, but we know now that we need a strong tempo and cover.”
Another feature of the race was the performance of the overseas import Bartholomeu Dias, a 5-year-old gelding having his first start for the Maher-Eustace stable. A winner up to 2500m in the UK, Bartholomeu Dias was always travelling well enough to play a part in the finish and was found right on the heels of the placegetters on the line.
Speaking on Bartholomeu Dias’s performance, co-trainer David Eustace said: “It was just what we wanted to see. He travelled well and lengthened well when he needed to. He’s a lengthener, rather than a strider. We think he’ll get 2400m-plus.
“He was one of those horses outside of the top price range and the type we’re targeting to win Saturday races. If they get to Carnival Cups then that’s a bonus.
“We’re training them [imports] according to how well they’re settling in to the racing here, rather than just looking directly towards big races. Hopefully that’s the benefit of what we’re going to see them do. All the better if they can do more.”
Margins of the race were a half-head by three-quarters of a length.
Winning time was 1m38.77s.
SPs were All Too Huiying $15.00, Sikorsky $1.85 favourite, and No Say In It $8.50.
All Too Huiying races in the colours of Ms A Feng. He’s now amassed $476,760 following eight wins, four seconds and five thirds from 38 career starts.