Trainer Gordon Richards and jockey Mark Zahra caused a bit of a boilover at Flemington on Saturday as four-year-old speedster Gytrash ran over the top of the favourites in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m).
The four-year-old gelding was first-up at headquarters, and despite winning back-to-back starts at Flemington last month, went around as a surprising $26.00 chance in the market.
Gytrash and Zahra found themselves on the outside of Redzel down the straight, who clung to the rails from the gates. The dual Everest winner set the tone up front with race-favourite Nature Strip on the opposite fence, but it was Gytrash who burst clear with the field split in two.
The win marked Zahra’s first win in the Lightning, and more importantly, Richards’ first Group 1 victory – a fair reward after some training setbacks last year.
“He jarred up, just hard bones I think they put it down to, so they just said modify his training, less hard work,” Richard said. “Water walking, swimming. I don’t think he’s 100% today. He looked like it, but he’s still got a bit of improvement this prep which will be good.”
Zahra, who was riding for Gordon for the first time, said the inside barrier made life a little easier as he followed Kerrin McEvoy in aboard Redzel.
“I thought the inside was better and I’d drawn two and I was happy when Kerrin stayed down low. I just followed him and travelled very sweetly It’s always hard to know where the others are, but I just looked across and saw Nature Strip and the others going well” Zahra said.
Not for the first time, there was no such luck for Nature Strip as jockey James McDonald looked a little too keen early on. Loving Gaby, meanwhile, lived up to her reputation flashing home late for a very strong second.