After flirting with that maiden win for a while, Cracking Tottie (NZ) finally smashed the door wide open under an inspiring ride from Michael Rodd in the $38,000 Kranji Stakes D race over 1600m on Friday night.
A noted barrier rogue - she was scratched at the gates at her last start - the So You Think four-year-old mare has been looking cherry-ripe following two seconds and two thirds at her last four starts, all over 1400m, but rising up to the mile, she lapped up the new trip by giving her 10 male rivals something to chase inside the last 300m.
The Cliff Brown-trained galloper originally dropped at the rear from her wide alley, but with the race turning into a muddling-run affair down the back, Rodd got onto his bike early.
In one fell swoop, Cracking Tottie’s distinctive all-lilac colours streaked through the field from the 1000m marker to go eye-balling the dawdling leader Northern Knight upfront.
Assistant-trainer Tim Fitzsimmons was glad Cracking Tottie had finally cracked it for a well-deserved first win, especially for her owners Nick Johnston, Paul Robbins and Glenn Whittenbury of Barree Stable and Debt Collector fame.
“It was a good ride by Michael. The pace was too slow, and he made the winning move,” said the Australian horseman.
“Six months ago, she wasn’t quite there. It’s taken a while for her to mature.
“We’ll just find another sort of race like that for her.”
Rodd, who was at a riding double after he kicked off the night with King Zoustar in the first race, deflected all the kudos to the people who have been minding the flighty mare.
“She’s got ability, but she’s just a bit hot,” said the Australian jockey referring to her mental disposition.
“She’s had a disruptive preparation, and the starters Damien and Peps have done a great job with her barrier education.
“I’d also like to thank her track riders Shafiq and Sabri, who have shown nerves of steel to get on top of her. It’s been a great team effort.
“Tonight, she began really well, but we had decided to come back just to give her a chance to finish off. At the 1200m mark, they slowed up the pace and that’s when I just let her roll.”
The two English co-owners Robbins and Johnston were two happy campers at the winner’s circle as they greeted Cracking Hottie to a rapturous welcome, wishing they could share the special moment with the Australian third of the team.
“Glenn is not here, but it was after Debt Collector was victorious one day, that he and I decided to find a name for that So You Think filly we just bought,” said Robbins.
“In England, we call a lady who is very attractive a cracking tottie and that’s how the name came about. It’s a nice name for a filly.”
Having already banked in more than $50,000 from her four placings, Cracking Tottie has seen her account bulge to around $70,000 after that first winning stroke. -STC