By Adam Hamilton
IS Ride High the best pacer in Australia?
A premature question, yes possibly. But, it’s worth pondering after the sheer brilliance of his comeback win at Melton last night.
Racing for the first since December 14 and back from a throat operation, Ride High produced one of the most breathtaking wins Melton has witnessed – to the eye and on the clock.
Yes he led and dictated, but to leave a handy, including this season’s Inter Dominion finalist My Kiwi Mate, standing as he roared away to win by 28.9m was something to behold.
And driver Kima Frenning, aboard Ride High for the first time in a race, assured everyone he had plenty up his sleeve,
Think about that when you digest the race times. The 1720m mile rate of 1min51.6sec was quick, but those closing splits were the stunning part.
Ride High ran the quickest last half EVER around Melton. He followed a 26.9sec third quarter with a 25.8sec last half. That’s a 52.7sec half!
Frenning used words like “insane” and “ridiculous” to describe Ride High’s recent Ballarat trial win and rolled them out again, with more flair, after last night’s win, which was Ride High’s 11th from just 12 starts.
“That was just ridiculous. How easy he did that, how good he is. Still untapped, that was pretty cool,” she said. “I was just a passenger down the back. He’s just such a professional. He just knows when to go, I couldn’t hold him any slower down the back, when I let him rip he did that pretty easy.
“I didn’t pull anything. He probably just knocked-off a little bit because he didn’t have anything to race.
“He’s so competitive and such a professional, if he had something to race I’d be scared to see what he could do in the last quarter.”
Ride High’s return thrilled co-trainers Clayton Tonkin and Emma Stewart, who revealed the extent of his throat operation.
“After those couple of runs last December, we wondered why he was knocking-off late, so we had the vets go right over him. They gave him the all-clear, then I asked if they’d pop the scope down just in case,” Tonkin said. “They found he an entrapped epiglottis and was only getting 50 per cent of his air.
“The prognosis was great and it’s actually a relief they found it now we know we’ve got horse back at full capacity.”
Going into the race, Stewart was asked if Ride High was the best horse in Australia. Her answer? “Yes.”
That’s a big call when you consider the deeds of King Of Swing to win the huge Hunter Cup/Miracle Mile double earlier this year as well as the stunning emergence of Lochinvar Art.
We won’t have to wait too long to learn more with Lochinvar Art back in work and many of our best horses, including King Of Swing and Alta Orlando, being aimed towards the $300,000 Victoria Cup along with Ride High and Lochinvar Art on October 10.
Until then, Tonkin said Ride High would “go through the free-for-alls” as they mapped out a plan towards the Victoria Cup.
“Ideally they’ll have races like the Swan Hill and Kilmore Cups we can work through in the build-up,” he said.