From bridesmaid to matron of honour
Full Ahead has finally found that extra special quality needed to win.
After several bridesmaid finishes in the past 18 months for the Mick Cornish-Donna Gaskin-trained mare, it seems the six-year-old has finally turned a corner after back-toback wins at the weekend.
First came a victory at Wodonga on August 14, before she backed up again at Wangaratta on Saturday to salute in the $25,000 Your Everyday Gourmet 0-58 Handicap over 2000m.
With jockey Jason Maskiell steering her to victory in both, the pair had a fairly similar run at Wangaratta to that of Wodonga — settling in the middle of the field before making a move around the 400m mark.
An outside position at the turn gave Full Ahead the space needed to make a run, which she did — right to the finish line.
Cornish admittedly had butterf lies as Full Ahead hit the 200m, with her past second finishes flooding back.
“One of the things she used to do was she’d get to the front and wouldn’t go on,” Cornish said.
“But once she got to the 200 she knuckled down and really got to the line well and fought it out.
“It’s a quality she’s probably picked up in this last preparation.
“We’re starting to see what we did probably 12 months ago.”
Making the day even sweeter was a nice payday for her supporters, with Full Ahead rated a 10/1 chance.
Cornish said he would have had her at 3/1 in that field, although wasn’t complaining, with her ‘‘owners and loyal supporters all getting plenty’’.
Along with Full Ahead’s resurgence, Cornish said it had been a strong start to the new season for his stable.
“Madam Superior ran third in a fairly good race at Bendigo on the Friday and we’ve had a second and third and a win, so the stable is starting to kick on,” he said.
“The staff are doing a great job.” Though Full Ahead backs up well, Cornish said they would now give the mare a fortnight’s rest with an aim of finding the race best-suited for her.
“I think with this mare it’s all about the placement and getting that right company,” Cornish said.
“Something in the spring carnival. It’s always going to be harder, so we need to keep away from those better horses and find that right race.”
Until then, Echuca’s August 26 meeting looms for the Cornish-Gaskin stable, where another bridesmaid, O’whatapicture, will be trying to replicate the form of Full Ahead.
“Hopefully we can break that maiden and keep the ball rolling,” Cornish said.
“He’s had nine starts now for about six seconds.
“He’s the new Tom Melbourne, but we hope come Thursday he’s not a bridesmaid any more and we get the win on the board for him.”