Ahead sticks her nose out
CORNISH-GASKIN-TRAINED MARE FINISHES WITH A FULL HEAD OF STEAM TO POST SECOND SUCCESS
Taking 10 races to crack her maiden, Full Ahead had everyone guessing as to when an allusive second win would eventuate.
But in start 32, the stars appear to have finally aligned for the Michael Cornish and Donna Gaskin-trained mare, who clinched the $25,000 BM58 Hcp over 2050m at Wodonga on Saturday.
“It was a relief for the ages,” Cornish said.
“She’s been a pretty frustrating mare and had some close finishes.
“This preparation was more that we thought she might go off as a broodmare.
“This run could have been a do-or-die situation for everyone, but she came out and won the race.”
In what could be considered a fortuitous outcome considering the result, a last minute change had jockey Jason Maskiell take the reins for booked jockey Craig Robertson, who was unable to attend the meeting.
“Because of the world we live in at the moment, his kid goes to a kinder in Caroline Springs that had a positive COVID-19 case there, so Craig was stood down,” Cornish said.
“Jason Maskiell, his horse was scratched, so it all gelled; it lined up on the day.”
In a field of nine, Full Ahead and Maskiell settled midfield for most of the race.
It wasn’t until the final 600m when it looked like a rocket was placed under Full Ahead as she pushed on to take an outside spot at the turn.
Running on strongly to pip her closest rival She Zed So by a nose, Full Ahead was finally able to put her critics to bed.
“It was a muddily sort of race and Jason rode her extremely well,” Cornish said.
“He didn’t panic, went when he had to go, instead of getting caught in a speed battle.
“Normally she usually pulls up and runs second though, but she stuck her head out this time, so it could be a sign.
“There is probably still a couple more there.”
After breaking her maiden at Cranbourne in January, 2020, Full Ahead’s last placing — a third at Echuca — came in December of that year.
This year, her previous four races had netted a 13th, sixth, ninth and sixth from June to early August, with a three-week spell smack in the middle.
“The problem we’ve had with her has been tracks getting changed around on us, and we were getting some tracks that weren’t suiting her,” Cornish said.
“Everything lined up pretty well for us at Wodonga.”
Cornish and Gaskin are hoping the win is a sign of things to come when they take Full Ahead to Wangaratta on Saturday, with a 2000m 0-58 Handicap in their sights.
“She’s a mare that does back up, so we’ll back her up again on Saturday,” Cornish said.
“It would be good to get two wins in one week with her.”