Sport

Hope on a high after Adelaide double

By Seymour Telegraph

After a sensational double on Saturday, Seymour jockey Tahlia Hope could be forgiven for wanting to move.

Not just house — she might want to have a serious think about moving state. Specifically to South Australia.

Plumpton trainer Patrick Payne took two horses and one jockey to Morphettville on Saturday.

Hope had been there just a couple of weeks earlier and come up depressingly empty-handed.

But not this time.

In the opening event on the eight-race card, the $45000 Mark Hall’s Memorial over 1800m, the diminutive rider put Street Sheik at the pointy end of the race, just off the pacemakers.

Then as the field headed around the bend into the straight, Hope drove Street Sheik through on the inside of the track, stealing a couple of lengths as the leaders straightened, and in a twinkling of the eye had shot clear, daring the others to catch her.

‘‘Our plan had been to settle down at the back of the field, maybe last or second last, but there was no way I could fairly hold her back so we went for it,’’ Hope said.

‘‘I thought, ‘I can’t look now’, I was sure I could hear them coming.’’

And they were, just not fast enough.

As exciting as that was, it had nothing on what was to come.

In the fifth of the day, the $45000 Sabois three-year-old handicap, she was riding the $2.90 favourite Howlowcanyougo from gate three.

There was little support for the other eight starters, with Nudge Bar considered the best of the rest in the 1600m journey.

And for about 1450m of the race, Hope and Howlowcanyougo were barely sighted.

But the jockey’s decision to switch to the extreme outside to avoid the crush as the field swept into the home straight was finally paying dividends.

Howlowcanyougo was winding up fast but the finish line was coming up even faster.

‘‘When we were 200m out I was pretty sure I was riding a good third place, maybe second,’’ Hope admitted.

But the leader Shark in the Water was going up and down on the same spot.

‘‘At 50m it looked all too late, but we had momentum and we hit the line together. But I was sure we didn’t make it,’’ Hope said.

Most people at the track, including the race caller, agreed.

They all called Shark in the Water the winner. Until the photo finish was examined.

The official margin was 0.1 lengths.

In reality it was one pixel. No human eye could have picked that and in the old days enough of the judges might have agreed on Shark in the Water. At worst it would have been a dead heat.

Thanks heavens for the 21st century — and digital technology.

‘‘I’m a very lucky girl to have won that race. I reckon we had no hope until we hit the line,’’ Hope said.

‘‘And it was the same at Warracknabeal, when he broke his maiden. We got way back and had to come around just about everything to win. That was back in April.

‘‘He went for eight weeks in the paddock after that and I was due to ride him at his next but I had a fall and got concussion, so Billy Egan got the ride and the win.

‘‘So it was good to be back on him and get such an amazing win.’’

The win came with a penalty — Hope has now lost her 3kg claim and is down to 2kg.

She thinks that will still be of interest to trainers and owners, but when that drops to 1.5kg and lower she knows it is going to get very tough.

‘‘Rides are increasingly hard to come by and Paddy (Payne) has been such a great supporter of my riding,’’ she said.

‘‘He’s a great horseman and I really value his advice and the chances I get to ride his horses.’’