“I actually wanted to ride a horse called Pinnacle Prince in a Highway because I knew how good he was, and Cav said ‘no, you ride her’,” Collett said. “Lucky he did.”
Cavanough added: “I told him ‘you just ride this one because she is pretty good’.”
Cavanough was probably regretting his choice of jockey at the 300m when It’s Me was locked away in traffic and had to force a run for the first time in her four races.
It’s Me ($1.95 fav) was still five lengths off the leader but let down with an explosive turn of foot to win by a long head from Redouble ($14), which had burst through on a rails run, with leader Man Of Peace ($19) holding on for third a length away.
“J Collett, I thought he tried to get her beat. It was ugly, wasn’t it, but it worked,” Cavanough said.
“When he went into traffic, into a black hole on her, I thought ‘well, we’re in some trouble here’. But gee whiz, he did a bit of campdrafting to get out and he got the job done.
“I watched Fender come off the bridle and thought he can’t win, and then I had a look where Jason was at the 300m and thought what is he going to do.”
Collett thought It’s Me would find the winning surge once he got her clear but nearly misjudged it.
“She’s the best horse. She hit a few little obstacles into the straight,” Collett said.
“Just had to be patient and once I got her into clear air, I didn’t quite see Redouble scooting up on the inside, and I just had to ask a bit more of her.
“Her turn of foot is that of really top horse, and a lot more to come for her. She is definitely a group horse.”
Tommy Berry had saved every bit of ground and thought Redouble was the winner when he burst through on the fence.
“I just wish the winner was a bit closer to me in the finish. When the winner dashed through, he was on his own and he felt like his job was done,” Berry said. “Massive effort.”
It’s Me remains untapped and it was a win for a horse that had spent her whole life in the country. She had been sent to Cavanough by Grand Syndications, and he had to be patient with her because of injury. She had not run until this year.
“We paid $60,000. She was the first horse we paid that sort of money for. She had surgery as a yearling. That’s why she was probably that cheap, because she has a great page,” Grand’s Sam Lyons said. “She did a tendon and never got to the track as a three-year-old, but she is the horse we thought she was. You just saw that.”
Cavanough couldn’t help but point out that this was a win for a real country horse.
“The city people sent their group 2 horse down to Albury, good luck to them. They tried, they went close but it didn’t work,” Cavanough said. “It just goes to show you that a little country mare could get the job done.”
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald