All jockeys who competed at yesterday's meeting at Awapuni were summoned into the judicial room after the $50,000 Marton Cup and reminded of their obligations after the 2200-metre event was run at a farcically slow pace.
Stipendiary steward Ross Neal said the race highlighted concerns stewards have had in recent weeks over a lack of pace in races.
"We are not telling the jockeys how to ride a race but we told them that we expect a certain standard and a better judgement of pace in races," Neal said.
Ransomed clocked 2:20.80 in winning yesterday's cup, which was the slowest time recorded in the race for 28 years. The pace was so slow in the early stages that topweight Spiro, who normally likes to settle back in the field, was a reluctant leader as the field passed the winning post with a round to go.
Top jockey Opie Bosson finally decided to inject some pace into the race by taking his mount Cassini to the front starting the last 1400 metres but even he said they were still only crawling going down the back straight.
It wasn't until the last 600 metres that things got serious and by that stage the staying event had developed into just a sprint home.
The fact that Ransomed was able to come from a long way off the pace in such a slowly run race and win spoke volumes of the exceptional turn of foot the horse is now displaying in his races. It was the five-year-old's third win on end and followed a similar performance when taking out the Group III Manawatu Cup (2300m) on the same track three weeks ago.
Ransomed's Awapuni trainer Gary Vile said he had given up hope of his charge being able to pick up the leaders when there was no pace on and he was so far back.
"I didn't think he could win from where he was at the 1000," Vile said. "It just shows what a terrific will to win this horse has got."
Ransomed's performance rocketed him into favouritism for the Group II $200,000 Wellington Cup (2400m) at Trentham in a fortnight and Vile says there is still improvement in the horse for that race.
"I have purposely left another twist in him for the Wellington Cup so hopefully he will be spot on for that race," Vile said.
Ransomed is weighted on 54kg for the Wellington Cup which means heavyweight jockey Jonathan Parkes, who has ridden the horse to win his last three starts, will be able to retain the mount.
Less than three lengths covered the first 10 horses home with Ransomed getting the decision by a long neck from My Scotsgrey, with Mungo Jerry flashing home down the outside to be just a short head away in third and a long neck in front of Spiro. All four horses are expected to go on to Trentham.
Under-rated mare Fazzle returned to her best form with a decisive win in the $40,000 Waikato Stud Sprint but co-trainer Moira Murdoch says she will resist the temptation to back her up in Saturday's $250,000 Telegraph Handicap at Trentham.
"I think 1400 metres is her go now and so she'll go to the Waikato Draught Sprint at Waikato next," Murdoch said.
- Sunday Star Times
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