Sunshine shaded Royal Symphony hits top note
EXCEPTIONAL horses have a rare knack of averting crisis, sparing jockeys blushes in the process.
Royal Symphony managed precisely that with an extraordinary victory in an interference-marred Pin & Win Plate (1400m) at Flemington yesterday.
Badly pocketed at the 400m, Dwayne Dunn coolly wove through the field before Royal Symphony tightened his grip on Caulfield Guineas favouritism with a stunning win.
Dunn shook his head in disbelief after overhauling Eclair Sunshine to score by a head.
Jubilation and relief were two factors behind Dunn’s head shaking. Frustration at the rough-house tactics of rival jockeys was another.
“He got smashed early and, to his credit, he put up with that,” Dunn said before stewards questioned Ben Mel- ham (Mighty Boss) and Regan Bayliss (Eclair Sunshine).
“I just had to ride him for luck and when the luck came, he accelerated.
“Good horses get you out of trouble.
“On the corner turning in, I thought ‘I’m in trouble here, I’m finished’.
“I actually was lucky I got onto the back of Phillip Stokes’ horse (Eclair Sunshine) and sort of took him into the race.
“He got me into the clear, otherwise I was in a bit of pain.”
Watching on anxiously, trainer Tony McEvoy had almost resigned himself to certain defeat at the 400m.
“Dwayne just kept him balanced and got him home,” he said. “It was really special. “I nearly did the old ‘can’t win’, but Dwayne just peeled his way through the field and the way he picked up late was (some) thing that special horses do.
“I’d have half a dozen horses that work better than him at home — I’m not going to tell you their names — but he’s a game-day horse.
“When the bell goes, he turns up.
“That’s what you need to be a high-class racehorse.”
McEvoy conceded Royal Symphony’s habit of not mustering early speed almost certainly would have brought a different scenario at Caulfield in the Guineas.
“I’ve got to find another way to help that, so I’ll be calling on a lot of people with a lot of experience to help us there,” he said.
“If he did that at Caulfield, it would be awkward.
“He was very fresh coming into today, but I thought he was fit enough and thankfully he got the job done.
“I wanted him ready to win today, because I wanted to protect his record, but I didn’t want him peaking (yet).
“He’ll peak in mid-October.”
Dwayne Dunn and Royal Symphony (No.1) reel in Eclair Sunshine.