A daring Harry Coffey ride helped Felicienne return to winning form in the 2016 Schweppervescence Trophy at Flemington this afternoon.
Jockeys have been keen to get away from the inside of the track at Flemington all afternoon, but Coffey elected to stick to the rail on Felicienne and it paid dividends when she stormed home in the final stages to take out the Schweppervescence Trophy.
Coffey was impeded by a riderless Noble Protector at the top of the straight, but he retained his cool and the young hoop was clearly delighted to have scored one of the biggest wins of his racing career to date.
“What a humongous thrill,” Coffey said.
“On a day like today just walking in you have to pinch yourself and to get a win especially for Darren Weir is amazing.
“I know that there are a lot bigger races to win, but I am thrilled.
“I didn’t realise it was riderless until it was well and truly up my inside and I thought who is crazy enough to be going up here, but I had a look and there was no one on it.
“I hope Craig is ok and she sort of got in my way a little, but we dove back to the inside and maybe it was the best ground.
“I will have to thank Craig even though he wasn’t on her.”
Darren Weir stable representative Jeremy Rogers said that Felicienne put the righting on the wall with her strong effort behind Azkadellia in the Group 3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 27 and he said the stable was confident that she could return to winning form this afternoon.
“Her first two runs this preparation have been fantastic and last start her sectionals were the second best behind Azkadellia and she has come out in the Group 1 and just got beaten in Sydney,” Rogers said.
“It all panned out well for us today.
“The plan was that if a couple decided to stay on the inside we would stay there because we didn’t think it was that bad on the fence, but the loose horse went up the inside and Harry had something to chase so it worked out perfectly.
“The plan was to try and get a Stakes win with her and she has done that today, so the plan is to go to Adelaide with her.”
There was plenty of support for Miss Rose De Lago in the lead-up to the race, but she was one of the first horses beaten and Noble Protector reared up at the start and lost jockey Craig Williams.