Leading apprentice Lucy Warwick commenced the last Ascot fixture of 2014, in typical fashion, winning with Dabang in the Westspeed Stayers Bonus Handicap (1800m).
“I was determined to lead and set a solid pace and increase the pressure at the 800m mark.
I knew she would be able to sprint well at the end,” Warwick said. Trainer Shane Quilty said his chestnut mare had” not put a foot wrong this campaign.
She has won three times and Lucy rode her beautifully out in front,” Quilty said.
Dabang was untroubled to win by two and a quarter lengths with Dragonlead and Run For Rum in a close tussle for the minor places.
Quilty was a bit unlucky not to claim the quinella as Run For Rum worked home well from the rear.
Dabang started a firm favourite for the race after finishing fourth in the St leger against classy pair Real Love and Balmont Girl both strong Perth Cup contenders.
Quilty said he would start Dabang in the Latrice Stakes (1800m) on January 1 because of her liking for the distance.
The day kept on getting better for the blonde bombshell who finished with a treble. With 29 wins she is seven clear of Chris Parnham on the metropolitan apprentices premiership ladder.
Need A Lift finished like a Japanese tsunami to win the sixth race over 1600m. Racing worse than midfield Warwick started to move on the Paige Kenney trained galloper mid race, improving from ninth to seventh at the 800m mark then to fifth by the 400m mark.
The sustained run continued and at the finish the gap was four and half lengths between the five year old daughter of Passenger and her nearest rival, High Appeal, with Bradford Badboy a neck away in third.
Kenney said the mare always goes better from a wider draw. “She doesn’t like horses around her,” the trainer said.
DAD IS BEST: The Warwicks are the family that stick together. Asked to name her best win on the day Lucy Warwick plumped for Kim Mini trained by her father, Justin.
“I woke him up early and got him rolling,” was how the apprentice recalled the race. From fifth place Kim Mini had to run down Helder The Painter who had shot clear in the home straight. Kim Mini just claimed the pacemaker in the shadows of the post.
Justin Warwick said he had backed off Kim Mini’s work and put the blinkers on him. “I was hopeful of an improvement because frankly I was disappointed with his fifth at Bunbury, last start. He just followed them on that occasion.”
Lucy Warwick is due to go to Victoria in mid January to further her career.
STENT: Emma Stent was another apprentice rider who emulated Warwick by leading for most of the journey on Madam Sass in the second race over 1000m.
Trainer David Harrison said he told Stent to hold Madam Sass up for as long as possible before letting her go. “It is rewarding when apprentices heed instructions because it means they are learning,” Harrison said.
Even when Foxalicious, resuming after a break of six months, passed her in the straight Stent did not panic. However when she asked for an effort Madam Sass fought back to regain the lead.
Harrison got his own rewards too. Madam Sass was at fixed odds of $13 during the week and firmed to $6 on race day.
“I got a piece of that,” the trainer quipped.