Horse Racing

What a way to ‘win’ on your first race ride

Jacob Opperman on Miss Gatsby quite literally winning by the length of the straight

I could almost title this ‘It Happens – April 23rd’.

Yesterday’s South Australian midweek racing took us to Mount Gambier, best remembered as the site of Sandy Roberts and Miss Australia Leanne ‘Cock’ having a chat on Channel 7 at the 1981 Mount Gambier Cup.

Leanne kept the legend going and married a man named Cockerill, cementing her status as a cult hero.

Anyway, the opener on the card was a 900m maiden race, which saw jockey Jacob Opperman have his first official race ride aboard the mare Miss Gatsby, and she pinged the lids beautifully, going straight to the lead without even trying, as the other 5 horses simply couldn’t go with the speedy mare.

As Miss Gatsby hit the last turn, she’d put up 15L on Quip, as the other horses simply gave up after realising they had Buckley’s chance of winning.

And completing the romp, Opperman and Miss Gatsby won eased down on the line, quite literally by the length of the straight.

There was only one problem for poor old Jacob – The race was a false start, after one gate failed to open and another partially opened at the jump, causing a leg injury to Kayla Crowther on Experior.

If you listen to the call, the noticeable part is that even caller Brett Davis didn’t realise it was a false start until the halfway mark, partially because there aren’t any sirens to alert the jockeys (A similar problem occurred in the abandoned 2017 Sydney Cup at Randwick).

After demolishing her rivals with consummate ease over 900m, the vets decided it wasn’t worth allowing Miss Gatsby to test herself at 1800m, and she was scratched from the re-run, along with Experior.

For the record, top weight Ranger Frank won the 4-horse re-run, and Opperman narrowly missed recording his first official win in the last of the day, running 2nd on L’amarybelle (After replacing the injured Crowther) by a half-length to Spotakova.

As far as brutal realisations go, this wasn’t quite Rhys McLeod winning a 1200m race at Moonee Valley in 2002…

Only to realise it was actually 3000m.

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