The Gordonian tough as teak in Winter Classic upset
It was only fitting that one of the first hugs of congratulations Jo-Ann Gordon received was from Tommy Beckett.
Gordon had just won the $40,000 Winter Classic (1800m) at Riccarton with an almighty fight back from The Gordonian and Beckett had just watched his classy mare Miss Three Stars race for the final time.
The Southland duo both train out of Ascot Park.
The Gordonian ($26.90) looked to be well and truly beaten when Doiknowyou clearly headed him following a brave effort from the Gordon-trained runner but somehow, he climbed off the canvas to come again and win by three-quarters of a length.
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Even Gordan had resigned herself to a second place finish.
Despite the tough display Gordon had just seen from her nine-year-old son of Remind, she put the credit for the victory with North Canterbury apprentice Krishna Mudhoo.
"That boy has never ridden 53kg in his life so to see him riding with that much aggression was very impressive.
"He wanted to win as much as the horse," she said.
When The Gordonian was handicapped at 53kg, Mudhoo assured Gordon he would cut off a few body parts if he needed to so he could make the weight.
"Thankfully he told me in the birdcage before the race that he didn't have to do that," Gordon quipped.
The Gordonian's fight back was a bitter blow for Te Awamutu trainer Ben Ropiha and the connections of Doiknowyou after the Kashani eight-year-old also ran second in last week's Winter Cup.
Miss Three Stars was her usual brave self on an unsuitable sticky track and stuck on for fifth.
She retires to the broodmare paddock with 11 wins for more than $300,000 in stakes. Ten of those wins came with Sam Wynne aboard.
Miss Three Stars will be best remembered for her 2016 Group III Winter Cup victory.
"We've loved every minute of it," Beckett said of Miss Three Stars' career.
"She's been such a great horse. She's very special to us."
Meanwhile, Kate Cowan's composure has seen last week's Winter Cup winning jockey shine again on Saturday.
The Central Districts apprentice, fresh from thriving in the Winter Cup pressure cooker with a near perfect ride aboard Nashville, has repeated her heroics in an open handicap over 1400m at Riccarton on Saturday.
It was the 14th win of Nashville's distinguished career. He beat home Luke by a length with a further half length back to Taurus in third.
The Adrian and Harry Bull-trained Nashville, a two-time Group I winner, is inching closer to the magic million dollar tag with Saturday's win taking his career earnings to $965,607.
Cowan scored a hat-trick of wins on Saturday when she also picked up wins aboard Standrews Masonic and Southern Cool to give her four wins for the carnival and 13 career victories.