Top jockey Lisa Allpress followed the adage that the shortest way home in any race is hard up on the rails as she guided the lightly raced Dez to victory in the Christchurch Casino Winter Classic (1800m) at Riccarton.
Allpress made full use of a brilliant beginning by the seven-year-old to set the early pace before settling into a perfect trail behind the free-going Kings Pal. Dez gave Allpress a torrid time as he pulled hard for a good portion of the contest before settling into his rhythm with 600m left to run.
As the field fanned wide in search of better footing, Dez scooted through on the fence with Allpress riding hard to establish a break on her rivals. The Zed gelding responded gamely as he held out a late challenge from last weekend’s Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m) winner Platinum Command with local runner Elfee finishing strongly to grab third.
Trainer Simon Wilson was thrilled with the win that followed his charge running a superb race for third behind Platinum Command on the first day of the carnival.
“He tries hard and has finished off a great week,” he said.
“He’s taken a bit of time as he had an injury, but he’s getting better and better with more ringcraft as he’s been a bit green.”
Wilson was quick to pay tribute to Allpress after she made all the right decisions during the race.
“She’s very clever with her riding tactics and she certainly helped the horse today,” he said.
“She has done a great job with him.”
Allpress believes there is still plenty to come for Dez once he improves his racing manners.
“He’s still so green and does a lot wrong but he just tries so hard,” she said.
“He charged along quite hard early on and it took a lot to get him to come back underneath me.
“He’s the sort of horse who doesn’t like to be hit by the whip as he runs around. When I got to the fence I really made him hit the line as having the fence inside him made him run straight.
“He’s still just figuring out what its all about but in time I think he will come right.”
The win was the third for Dez in his current campaign after he spent more than two years on the sideline with injury after winning two of his first three starts. His career record now stands at five wins and three placings from just 10 starts. – NZ Racing Desk