Seymour trainers Lee and Shannon Hope had to truck horses to Echuca on Monday — to win a race that should have been on their home track.
The meeting was transferred after ongoing issues with the track surface here.
That certainly didn’t faze Capatas, which went on to win the $22000 Sue Luck Tribute over 2100m at Echuca.
But Shannon Hope admitted he had his heart in his mouth for several minutes before the horses jumped.
When jockey Ben Allen got the horse to the starting gate he discovered his girth strap had snapped and his saddle was unusable.
With the race start barely a minute away Hope — and most commentators at the track — was pretty sure his horse would be a late scratching.
Although that would have been a harsh call as the top weight was also the 2/1 favourite.
While Allen was being driven back to the jockeys’ room to find a new saddle, Hope could only watch and hope the stewards would show some patience.
They did, Allen re-saddled the horse and the race started.
Capatas rode well back all the way and had to start its run home six or seven wide in the straight.
Finishing a length ahead of a brave Jeparit, which fought all the way down the straight but just didn’t have enough petrol in the tank over the 2100m.
It was the ninth start for Capatas and its first win.
‘‘It was a really patient ride by Ben Allen, he waited and waited for the right time to go,’’ Hope said.
‘‘In his past two starts the horse has been beaten by a combined nose, including one in town,’’ he said.
‘‘This horse has the biggest head of any we have in our stables but it hasn’t been big enough to help him in close finishes.
‘‘But I reckon he’s a stayer with a bit of promise as this was his first time over this distance.’’
Ben Allen admitted it wasn’t the perfect start to a race especially when you are on the favourite.
He said it was the girth strap.
‘‘But I didn’t notice until I suddenly saw my breast plate was undone,’’ Allen said.
‘‘Plus it was his first time out to this distance and after all the problems it took him a while to settle,’’ he said.
‘‘He didn’t appreciate me trying to ease him back for a bit but once he balanced up he was right.’’
The win was the first of a double for Allen — he would also win the $18000 bet365 Handicap over 1600m on the Darren Weir trained Thunder Cloud.
And Weir was on a roll — his horses won three races with three different jockeys.
But the day belonged to rider Jye McNeill — he finished the eight races with four wins, a first in the 23-year-old’s career.
It was a stunning performance and took the rising star over the $12million career prize money barrier.
Remarkably three of his four winners wore the number eight saddlecloth and three of his wins were photo finishes — the longest by a half head and the shortest by a nose hair.
It was a day all about multiple wins as trainer Chris Hyland also finished with a brace.