Heavy rain overnight in Sydney played havoc with Doncaster day at Randwick but was music to the ears of trainer Joe Pride who sent out superior wet tracker Sacred Choice in the feature event full of confidence.
That confidence was justified as the mare took control of Saturday’s race and left her opponents, including the overwhelming favourite More Joyous, in her wake.
“I kept getting text messages all night saying it was raining,” Pride said.
“I was very happy and very confident. I had her program planned for this day and everything worked out.
“You have to pick your fights and I picked the right fight today.”
The opposite was true for the More Joyous camp with owner John Singleton downcast after the mare finished a plodding 11th on the heavy (10) track.
“That’s what I thought would happen,” he said.
“Terrible track and she looked terrible in the ring. Last night I felt good but I woke up this morning and I didn’t even want to come.
“I knew this would happen, but you still hope.”
There was really no hope with More Joyous ($3) struggling coming to the home turn and Sacred Choice ($8) full of running.
Tim Clark edged Sacred Choice closer to the leader Aloha and she cruised around the turn to get ready for the run home.
“I’ve won Group One races on Hot Danish but this is the definitely the biggest race I have won,” Clark said.
“I had the race under control a long way from home and the conditions helped.
“I was having trouble stopping her and then in the last 300 metres I was looking behind to make sure nothing was coming.
“I’m absolutely rapt.”
Sacred Choice had two lengths to spare over Love Conquers All ($8) with Queenslander Bold Glance ($41) another half-length away third.
It was the second Group One victory for Sacred Choice who lowered the colours of Horse of the Year Typhoon Tracy in the Myer Classic at Flemington in the spring under similar conditions.
She was trained early in her career by Anthony Cummings and started racing for Pride after spending the best part of a year recovering from leg problems.
“When she started racing for me I thought she might win a Listed race and when she did I thought she had done a good job,” Pride said.
“To think she has now won two Group Ones, it doesn’t get much better.
“Her preparation might not look good on paper but I planned it that she had four weeks off going into this race.
“That’s what I did before she won the Emancipation last year and also before the Myer Classic.
“When I get a plan that works I like to stick with it.”
The plan didn’t work out for More Joyous with her jockey and biggest fan Nash Rawiller saying she was out of sorts.
“She was just not herself,” he said.
“I was following the winner and was very concerned before the corner. We just couldn’t come into the race and she was under hard pressure to just keep on the bridle.
“She was not happy in the ground either.”
Second favourite Triple Elegance ($7) finished 14th of the 17 runners with jockey Jim Cassidy saying he was uncomfortable in the wet ground.