A lot of time and energy goes into preparing a thoroughbred horse for a race, often with thousands of dollars on the line.
Despite all of this preparation, the overall result itself will often fall back on one or two decisions made prior to, or during the race.
This was certainly the case for Tumbarumba trainer Mont Waters on Saturday, as Bay Lane stormed home to win the 1400m Benchmark 58 at Albury on Saturday.
Ridden by apprentice jockey Josh Richards, the six-year-old was last at the 600m pole but had reached the lead with a furlong to go, before stretching out and running away to win by 2.37 lengths over Little Jatz and Rocky High.
The Tumbarumba runner was originally unwanted in the markets, drifting to 30/1 before being trimmed back into 20/1 by the time the gates had crashed back.
Funnily enough, Bay Lane almost didn’t make the trip to Albury, with Waters also considering a race at Cooma on the same day, a race that looked much easier than the event he won at Albury.
“It was a tough decision, the Cooma race was a lot easier and I thought the Albury race was a bit tough,” Waters said.
“They rated Cooma as a firm one and if you keep racing on hard surfaces, they lose confidence, or he will anyways.
“At the end of the day, I just thought it would be better for the horse to go to Albury.”
This result proved to pay dividends with the Zariz gelding greeting the judge first and helping connections to $12,000 in prize money.
After the win, Waters joked that Bay Lane probably wasn’t entitled to win when merely looking at the overall form.
“On paper, we were probably the worst horse in the race and to come away with a win out of that field, I can tell you it was very satisfying,” he said.
In spite of what the form suggested, Waters was quietly confident in the lead up to the event and duly celebrated afterwards.
“I embarrassed my twin sons with how much I celebrated,” he laughed.
“We definitely had a good day.”
What makes the win all the more special to Waters and his team is the fact that Bay Lane was originally sacked before being moved to Tumbarumba.
“The bottom line is that Spacky (Scott Sapckman) didn’t think he was quite up to TAB standard and the owners let him go,” he said.
“Because he was bomb proof quiet, my daughter Bridget (Waters), who works for Spacky, thought he would be a perfect fit.”
Waters is now considering his options after the Albury win and suggested his charge may go further than 1400m
“Underneath, we always thought he would go a mile, or even 2000m but if there is pace is on over 1400m, he will go well,” he said.
“I will probably take him to Wagga on Christmas Eve but we will see how he pulls up.”