Giant Cambridge galloper Mosse defied belief with a remarkable finishing burst to win Saturday’s Concorde Handicap at Ellerslie. Aidan Rodley reports.
Even Mosse seemed to be shaking his head.
And if he wasn’t, then he was the only one.
The O’Reilly four-year-old gelding had just produced a performance to win the Gr III $70,000 Concorde Handicap at Ellerslie that had defied belief.
Jockey Jason Waddell, whose faith in the John Bell-trained sprinter knows no bounds, shook his head as he crossed the line and he was still shaking his head after posing for photographs with connections in the winner’s circle afterwards.
"For the first time, I think I’m lost for words," Waddell said.
"I knew he was good but that was unbelievable. Where he picked them up from at 100 [metres] was pretty unreal. At the 150 [metres] I’m still five or six lengths off them. It was worth the effort to get down to the weight."
Waddell rode Mosse at 53.5kg, the lightest weight he had ridden at for more than seven years.
He had unwavering confidence in his mount, who went into Saturday’s 1200m feature having won all four of his previous starts, but after getting back to last and standing his rivals what seemed too much of an advantage, even Waddell admitted he had doubts.
"Normally he’s quite keen, but he came out of the gates and he just wanted to dawdle," Waddell said.
"I was a long way off them but they’d gone hard. I was confident the leaders would come back but, to be honest, I thought I’d given them too big a start. He loves weaving his way through them. For a big horse, he’s so athletic.
"We’ve got an incredible horse here and there’s only better things to come. We look forward now to the Gr I races. Bring it on."
Having made the decision to ride for luck through the field, rather than opting for the easier option of circling the field, Waddell then had the further setback of having to change ground to gain clear running halfway down the straight as he set Mosse after the leaders.
To his temerity, Mosse not only gathered up the leaders with a phenomenal explosive finishing burst, but he also pricked his ears on the line as if to say ’that was easy’.
His margin was a long neck over Demophon, who had also made ground from worse than midfield, with Durham Town and Trapiche deadheating for third. Vincent Mangano peaked on his run and finished fifth alongside Rough Odds.
Before the race, Waddell had told Bell to ’sit back and enjoy the race’ but in the grandstand the trainer was shifting uncomfortably in his seat.
However, Bell’s relief and elation was obvious afterwards.
"That was unbelieveable, exceptional. Wow, everyone saw it. Wonderful," Bell said.
"You got to give all the credit to the professional who rode the horse. Jason said to me before the race: ’all the boxes are ticked now, John. You just go and sit back and enjoy the race’. But I wasn’t enjoying it at all - till the last 50m. It’s fantastic to achieve that.
"When he was last on the turn, I was thinking ’all that work - what do we do now?’ But you’ve just got to pay credit to our jockey. He’s had to torture himself to get down to this weight. I compliment Jason on his ride, his horsemanship and his professionalism."
Bell, who also paid credit to his staff - notably his training assistants Brent Doyle and Carl Gately, confirmed Mosse would now have his next start in the Gr I $200,000 Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on January 1.
He said there was still much improvement in Mosse, whom he reported was ‘‘dancing around his paddock’’ yesterday.
"He’s still only a baby. I’d hate to think what he’ll be like when he grows up," Bell said.
"It’s terrifying really. What do you do. But you can’t change anything. We’ll keep him eating and keep him happy.
"I’ve never had a horse like this. He’s just got an aura about him. You place your hand on him and you can just feel it. He’s got a beautiful nature around the stable. If he’s not eating, he’s sleeping but once you put a saddle on him, look out."
Bell said he was already receiving texts and emails of support before the Concorde and he was delighted to see Mosse building up a fan base. "I’d like everyone to enjoy this horse."
Rider Chris Dell was rapt with Demophon’s effort for second, beaten a long neck after giving Mosse a 5.5kg weight advantage.
Should the John Sargent-trained Demophon go on to the Railway Stakes, he will carry 1kg less than Mosse under the set weights and penalties conditions of the race, therefore meeting his rival 6.5kg better for the Gr I sprint, a scenario Dell said he would love to be part of.
Ginner Hart was hampered twice in the early stages of the race, extinguishing his chances and rider Noel Harris eased his mount down in the straight.
Dell, Rory Hutchings and and Mark Sweeney were all suspended for careless riding for their role in causing interference.
Later, Bell doubled the dose when Storming The Tower won the $15,000 Dunstan Feeds Championship Qualifier (2200m) for Rating 85 horses in the hands of Jason Jago.
Bell said he would now consider the Storm Creek four-year-old gelding for the Gr II $100,000 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) on the Railway Stakes undercard at Ellerslie on January 1.
"He’s still only a baby too, but he’s learning and he’ll only improve. We’ve looked after him and he’s had no pressure," Bell said.
Storming The Tower has now won four of his 10 starts and placed in five others.
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