“That is why we call him the wizard,” was trainer Grant William’s description after jockey William Pike had threaded his way through on Elite Belle to win a thrilling Group 1 Railway Stakes.
Elite Belle won by three quarters of a length with a three way go for second. Balmont Girl was runner up, after finishing from well back, by the proverbial lip from Moriarty and Smokin’ Joey.
“I just thought Willie had too many horses to get through and when he was stoking her up at the 800m that was not a good sign. This is my biggest thrill in racing,” Williams, the trainer of many fine feature wins, said.
As for Pike he said Elite Belle had begun well and “I managed to switch across heels to find myself on the fence and I was surprised with the position after drawing wide. When Fuchsia Bandana kicked, I had my opening,” he said.
Pike said Elite Belle was unusual in that she accelerates off the bit. “She catches you unawares and she is anything but coiled up like most of them are when they take off.”
Pike quipped “I justified my position as leading rider (for the Peters- Williams team) after losing the Guineas.”
Owner Bob Peters, in his usual laid-back fashion, said he was “buzzing.”
With his eye on future breeding prospects Peters said, “It is unusual for a mare to win a Group 1 race. I did not expect her to when she was jammed on the rails with nowhere to go.”
Shaun ODonnell and Balmont Girl were gallant in defeat coming from well back and they didn’t get the run of the winner in the home staight.
Spare a thought for O’Donnell who has has featured in the last four finishes of the Railway, being second across the line on three of those occasions.
However, his record is two wins and two seconds because he won the race on protest with Luckygray in 2011; was second on the grey the following year (again charging home) before winning again on him in 2013.
With a bit more luck O’Donnell could have won the last four Railways –although critics and cynics say you make your own luck.
Balmont Girl should be hard to beat in the Kingston Town Classic (1800m) on December 6.
She is a versatile performer with quality wins between 1400-2400m.