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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Saturday, August 05 2017

A superbly judged front-running ride from last season’s premiership winner Chris Johnson paved the way for consistent galloper Irish Excuse to take his career earnings over the $150,000 mark with a victory in the open sprint at Riccarton on Saturday.

Irish Excuse - Race Images South

The winning result also vindicated trainer Ellis Winsloe’s decision to bypass the feature event on the programme, the eStar Winter Cup, after he felt his charge was badly off at the weights in the Group Three contest.

“We were aiming for the Winter Cup with him,” admitted Winsloe after the race.

“He’s never really won a big race until today and we were topweight for the race so we elected to take on the 1200m instead.”

Bounced straight to the lead by Johnson, Irish Excuse enjoyed an uncontested time in front as he cut out steady sectionals throughout the contest. The tempo adopted by Johnson served the dual purpose of providing his mount with an energy saving run while also keeping his main rival, the Kevin Myers trained Scapolo, in a pocket behind him at a crucial juncture early in the run home.

That proved the winning and losing of the race as when Scapolo finally emerged to make his challenge Johnson had enough gas left in the tank to kick Irish Excuse clear as he held out the favourite’s late charge to score by three quarters of a length at the line.

“It was definitely a master class ride from Chris,” said Winsloe.

“Chris knows the other horse well and had him in a pocket so he just sat and probably thought he could out-sprint him, which he did.”

The victory made it win number eleven from 48 starts for the seven-year-old gelding who is the older sibling of exciting prospect Irish Express who was unbeaten in two starts as a two-year-old for Ellis and his co-owners, who bred and race both horses.

Posted by: Race Desk AT 02:26 am   |  Permalink   |  Email