Ace de­ci­sion with a tinge of re­gret

Sunday Mail - - SPORT - RAY THOMAS

TYE Ang­land had the most dif­fi­cult of choices to make – does he ride the favourite in a Group 1 race at Royal Rand­wick or travel in­ter­state to at­tend his brother’s wed­ding?

The tal­ented jockey ended up rid­ing and win­ning the fi­nal ma­jor in Syd­ney this year on Ace High in the $500,000 Spring Cham­pion Stakes (2000m) yes­ter­day but still there was some re­gret.

“It wasn’t an easy de­ci­sion to make but Cody gave me his bless­ing to ride,’’ Ang­land said.

“I can’t even make it to the re­cep­tion be­cause it is in the mid­dle of nowhere at a place called Spring­sure (near Emer­ald) in cen­tral Queens­land.

“But I’m sure they have had a great day and as he said you don’t get many chances to win a Group 1 at Rand­wick.’’

Ang­land pro­duced a bril­liant, front-run­ning ride to guide Ace High to a de­served win, al­beit in a thrilling fin­ish, be­fore a bumper Rand­wick crowd of 17,757.

Ace High ($3.20 favourite) held off the late surge of Tan­gled ($5.50) to win by a nose with Sully ($8.50) one-and-ahalf lengths away third. Ang­land was later fined $4000 for ex­ces­sive whip use.

For trainer David Payne and owner John Cor­dina, Ace High’s win was a spe­cial mo­ment for both men.

“John has been a loyal client since 2003 but this is our first Group 1 win to­gether,’’ Payne said. “I’m re­ally happy for him be­cause he loves his rac­ing.’’

Cor­dina cut his teeth in the har­ness code be­fore be­ing en­ticed to share the own­er­ship of a thor­ough­bred called Fair­way, who won the 1999 Spring Cham­pion Stakes.

But since Fair­way, Cor­dina hasn’t had an­other Group 1 win­ner - un­til Ace High.

“Ever since I raced Fair­way, I’ve al­ways wanted to race stay­ers,’’ Cor­dina said. “We have had to wait a while but it looks like in Ace High we have found a nice horse.’’

Ace High be­came the 10th to com­plete the Gloam­ing Stakes-Spring Cham­pion Stakes dou­ble yes­ter­day.

Pic­ture: JENNY EVANS

HOLD­ING THE ACES: Tye Ang­land guides Ace High, mid­dle, to vic­tory at Royal Rand­wick yes­ter­day.

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