Story and Photos courtesy of Graham Potter and www.horseracingonly.com.au
Eagle Farm, February 27, 2010.Track - Dead 4. Rail - out 3m.QTIS 600 2yo Handicap - 1200m. Time: 1-11.38. (Carrying 53.5kg). 1 Hidden Kisses; 2 Adebisi; 3 Norocos. The Robert Heatcote trained Hidden Kisses took the honours here to score her first win in her second career start. The filly had finished an eye-catching third behind Demanding Miss over 1000m on debut and both the extra ground and the sting out of the going were clearly to her liking as she came home with a rattle to roll the favourite Adebisi, who looked to have the race comfortably in his keeping halfway up the straight.Hidden Kisses was only ordinarily away but jockey Brad Stewart chased her up to settle in midfield on the rail while all the action was taking place up ahead of him. Jockey Shane Scriven had hustled the favourite Adebisi from his wide draw and the favourite showed plenty of gate-speed to cross his field and spur into a clear lead.Adebisi showed too much early speed in fact, so Scriven tried to get the colt to come back after underneath him after 150m. The chestnut fought his rider though before complying with the command. When he did so there was a sudden change of pace from the frontrunner, who came back quickly onto his closest chasers. They in turn had to adjust their line and speed and for a moment the flow of the race was interrupted as a ripple effect went through the field. It did not look pretty.Unfazed by it all, Stewart kept Hidden Kisses comfortable in sixth spot on the rail before moving up to fifth, two wide, and improving as the field straightened for home.Scriven glanced behind him leaving the turn and angled Adebesi out into the better going. Hidden Kisses was also off the fence now, but she, like the rest of the field, only looked to have a minor role in proceedings as Adebisi stretched away into a commanding lead. With 250m left to run Adebisi was six lengths in front of Hidden Kisses, who was building good enough momentum to take care of the rest of the field, but the result still looked to be all over bar the shouting. It wasn’t!Approaching the 200m mark, with Adebisi still well clear but looking to lay in slightly, Scriven chose a bizarre course of action. He reached for his whip, which he was carrying in his left hand, put it in his mouth for a number of strides and only then transferred it into his right hand where he immediately put it to use.He needed to. Hidden Kisses had now found her feet and was coming home well. She was still 3.50 lengths adrift of the Adebisi with only 100m left to run, but the leader was starting to paddle after his eventful run and Hidden Kisses swept by him late to stun race-goers who could not quite believe what they had seen over the last 250m.All credit to Hidden Kisses for a bold showing that augers well for her future.For the followers of Adebisi it was really another tale of misadventure (after his buck-jumping antics in his previous start) rather than satisfaction. The positive bottom-line for trainer Desleigh Forster is that Adebisi’s two, recent, promising runner-up finishes under duress has confirmed she has a real talent to work with. Her challenge is to get the colt to realise that potential.WINNER FEEDBACK:Melissa Leitch (spokesperson for the Robert Heathcote stable): “Rob (Heathcote) has always had a big opinion of her. He’s always thought she’s wanted a bit more ground, especially being a Hidden Dragon. There is a lot of them and they’ve all showed they want ground.“So we were just going to ride her quiet and have a genuine speed, which we got, and she was good enough to get there.”PRICE FLUCTUATIONS:Winner (Hidden Kisses): 8.00 out to 9.00.Favourite (Adebisi): 2.00 out to 2.40. Finished second.STEWARDS REPORT EXTRACT:Norocos (R. Goltz) jumped in at the start, hampering Paparazzi Blonde (C. Reith). Top Brass (R. Thompson) was slow to begin. Adebisi (S. Scriven) shifted out at the start and made contact with Wonderful Lass (C. Munce), which was a little slow to begin.Carnation Reef (J. Holder) had to be steadied shortly after the start when tightened for room between Hidden Kisses (B. Stewart) and Saint Eros (J. Byrne), which shifted in.Approaching the 1000m Top Brass commenced to over-race and improved up on to the heels of Saint Eros and when being restrained shifted out taking Wonderful Lass and In A Tangle (Matthew Palmer) wider on the track.Approaching the 1000m I'll Be Tricked (A. Erhart) had to be checked when racing to the inside of Paparazzi Blonde which was taken in by Hidden Kisses (B. Stewart) which shifted in and away from Pixiu (D. Browne) as Hidden Kisses attempted to take a run inside of Pixiu (D. Browne) where there was doubtful room. After attempting the run, Hidden Kisses then shifted in and away from Pixiu. B. Stewart was given the benefit of the doubt as to whether there was sufficient room to the inside of Pixiu at the time he positioned Hidden Kisses to its inside.Craiglea Royale (K. Wharton) and In A Tangle raced wide throughout.Leaving the 800m Paparazzi Blonde commenced to over-race and improved on to the heels of Hidden Kisses and shifted out taking Top Brass and Wonderful Lass wider on the track. A short distance later Paparazzi Blonde, which had continued to over-race, improved up on to the heels of Pixiu and shifted out taking Saint Eros and In A Tangle wider on the track.Stewards sought an explanation from jockey S. Scriven, the rider of Adebisi, in respect to his use of the whip in the straight whereby he placed his whip in his mouth for several strides before changing it to his right hand near the 200m.S. Scriven explained that as the horse had been barred at its last start for bucking he carried the whip in his non-preferred left hand so as to avoid being tempted to use it in the early stages as he was of the opinion that this may have been a factor for the horse bucking at its last start.He added that today, upon straightening, he shifted Adebisi wider to what he believed to be a better section of the track, and approaching the 200m Adebisi commenced to lay in and as he is a natural right-handed whip rider, he chose to place the whip in his mouth while he balanced the horse before transferring it to his right hand.Whilst stewards accepted the explanation tendered by jockey Scriven, he was nonetheless advised that he should refrain from placing the whip in his mouth when transferring it between hands.When questioned as to the performance of Wonderful Lass, C. Munce stated that the horse could not muster pace from its wide barrier today and as a result settled back in the field. He added that whilst the horse did feel flat, it did strike interference in the middle stages which would have had some effect on its performance.A post-race veterinary examination of Wonderful Lass failed to reveal any abnormalities. Stable representative Mr T. Edmonds advised stewards that he would give consideration to spelling the horse in light of its performance today.
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