The Gai Waterhouse filly Driefontein maintained her unbeaten record in taking out a tight finish in the Listed $100,000 Tom Cassar Widden Stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm today.
Driefontein is still on target for Group 1 $3.5m AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 7 but she has to overcome her tardy barrier manners to give herself any chance of taking out the Slipper.
Winning jockey Tommy Berry had Driefontein travelling behind the leaders after a slow getaway but stuck to the fence in the straight to score a tight but gutsy win over outsider Agueda (Peter Robl) and the fast finishing Hussousa for Brazilian jockey Joao Moreira.
The Anthony Cummings trained Agueda ran a cheeky race skipping to the front on the home turn and was only collared by Driefontein close to the line.
Third placegetter Hussoua never travelled well for Moreira but once he pulled her out into the middle of the track in the straight she got balanced up and powered to the line.
Waterhouse said that Driefontein had developed some bad barrier manners but was over the moon in the way she overcame the setback to score a tenacious win.
Her Golden Slipper plans are still in tact but Waterhouse was uncertain of her lead up schedule and some work has to be done on her barrier manners.
“Things didn’t go her way. Wasn’t she tenacious the way she won the race. She had every excuse to be beaten. She just dug so deep,” Waterhouse said.
Berry was happy to sit in behind the leaders and said once she pushed up along the fence in the straight he was very confident of winning.
“I though it was going to be a little easier. She’s starting to get little bits of bad habits in the gates now. She was quite warm behind the barriers and got a bit fidgety in the gates. When we jumped and we had gone about 150m they were going quite quick so I just took the sit,” Berry said.
“When she took the run up the rails she was never going to get beat once she got the run.”