Roger James was resigned to defeat when legging jockey Warren Kennedy aboard Apostrophe at Hastings on Saturday, so he was pleasantly surprised to be greeting them at the winner’s stall following the Worlds Best Sprinter – Lucky Sweynesse Premier (1400m).
While pleased with the mare heading into the race, the Cambridge conditioner thought she had too much to overcome, having drawn the outside gate in the 12-horse field and was lumbered with 60 kilograms.
To script, Apostrophe settled at the rear of the field for Kennedy and the pair had a wall of horses in front of them when turning for home. Kennedy elected to stick to the inside and was able to find a passage between horses where Apostrophe was able to dash through and snare a long head victory over Electric Time.
James was left in awe of his mare and the talent of his rider.
“It was a great effort first-up,” said James, who trains in partnership with Robert Wellwood.
“Originally, we were going to claim four off her back and then the rider got hurt and we had the option of putting Warren on with 60 kilos. When I legged him up I said, ‘unfortunately I don’t think she can win’.
“He steered her beautifully, saved ground and all credit to the mare, it was a top effort.”
Kennedy was also left in amazement of the six-year-old’s performance.
“It was a really fantastic win from her,” he said.
“Carrying 60 and drawn the widest, we got back and she was sitting last. She just motored on through them, I couldn’t get the gaps quickly enough, she was running on so quickly.
“It was a really good win, that was outstanding.”
Apostrophe has now won five and placed in three of her 13 starts, and black-type targets are now awaiting the daughter of Tavistock.
“We have always thought that she was a black-type performer in the making,” James said.
“She has had a few niggles soundness-wise, but if we can keep her in one piece, I think we can have a lot of fun."