Ace decision with a tinge of regret
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.
HOLDING THE ACES: Tye Angland guides Ace High, middle, to victory at Royal Randwick yesterday.