Tough gelding Mujadale led from start to finish to record an extremely brave win in the 2014 Ballarat Cup this afternoon.
Mujadale jumped straight to the lead in the early stages of the Ballarat Cup and jockey Kevin Forrester was able to control the tempo before he asked the Mujahid gelding for an extra effort at the 800 metre mark.
The seven-year-old looked like a sitting duck at the top of the straight when both At First Sight and Tuscan Fire loomed on the outside, but the gelding kicked away again in the last 100 metres to record the biggest win of his racing career to date.
Veteran jockey Kevin Forrester was given an opportunity on Mujadale after trainer Paul Jones was unhappy with some of the previous rides on his star galloper and the hoop repaid the faith of Jones with a well-judged ride in the Ballarat Cup.
“I was only going 13 for the furlong up the back and he came back under me,” Forrester said.
“He is just a very fit horse and he has done a very good job into the head wind.
“I just rated him, put them under pressure and I am riding a fit horse.”
Mujadale has shown plenty of talent throughout his racing career to date, but Jones believes that the enigmatic gelding has now reached peak physical and mental maturity.
Jones elected to give Mujadale an opportunity at Group level during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and he finished sixth behind Precedence in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2600m) before winning the Carnival Handicap (2800m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day, but the Stawell-based trainer said that this year he deliberately decided to be patient with the stayer and save him for races like the Ballarat Cup.
“He has been a bit of a tricky horse, but we have just taken him along slowly and he has improved all the time,” Jones said.
“He is probably a bit more mature physically now as well as mentally and he just handles raceday better.
“He can hopefully keep ticking over and win a couple more this time in.
“Last year we had him up at the height of the spring and we just found that once he went up a level he was finding it a bit tough, but he was probably getting towards the end of his prep.
“This year I thought that we would just aim him for a bit later on and there are still some nice races like the Ballarat Cup, a race at Werribee and the Bagot.
“A lot of the internationals have been and gone by then.”
Robert Smerdon-trained Spinderbella was set to start the Ballarat Cup as favourite, but was sensationally scratched at the gates before the running of the Listed race.