The highs and lows of photo-finishes

Capucine (Jonathan Riddell), nearest camera, making it two wins from three starts when getting the nod in a photo-finish at Te Rapa yesterday.

Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman experienced both sides of a photo-finish yesterday, one proving most costly.

Baker and Forsman picked up two wins on the local scene to edge closer to a fourth New Zealand Trainers Premiership when Madison County got home by a long head at Hastings and the lightly raced five-year-old Capucine commenced her autumn campaign on a winning note with a nose victory at Te Rapa.

Meanwhile, later in the day they watched their under-rated stayer  Zacada denied success by a head  in the Gr.1 Sydney Cup by the evergreen Who Shot Thebarman in a stirring finish to the  A$2million contest at Randwick.

“It was a great effort, but you do think what might have been when a head makes $800,000 worth of difference in your payday!” said Forsman.

“He went a super race and when he shot to the front along the inside we thought he might be home.

“He probably got all favours in the race, but just couldn’t quite withstand the other horse who was out in the middle of the track.”

Back to the home front and there was joy around the two winners, particularly with Capucine, a three-quarter sister to champion galloper So You Think, recapturing her best form.

Capucine looked a bit special when she scored on debut at Te Rapa last November, but an aversion to the flint hard tracks over the summer months saw her set aside after she disappointed in her next run.

Punters obviously remembered that stylish debut victory as they installed her a warm favourite to take out her rating 65 1200-metre contest yesterday, but that confidence looked to have been astray when she was battling to pick up race leader Pitch And Switch with just 200 metres to run.

However, under a desperate ride from Jonathan Riddell, the mare drove hard at the finish to snatch the victory by a bare nose.

“She has got plenty of ability, but as she hadn’t started for four months we were worried she might feel the pinch towards the end of the race,” said Forsman.

“She looked like she was battling when the other horse shot clear, but Jonathan got to work and she showed a good turn of foot to pick that other horse up in the end.

“We do think she will get over more ground and that probably confirmed it for us with how strong she was at the end.”

Forsman is in no hurry with the mare, preferring to see her work her way through the grades while she has track conditions in her favour.

“She just doesn’t handle the really firm ground so that’s why we put her aside over the summer,” he said.

“Now the tracks are starting to loosen up she should be in her element so we think she can make her way through the grades.

“With her breeding making her a three-quarter to So You Think, she is a very valuable mare so the opportunity to grab some black-type is the ultimate goal with her.”

NZ Racing Desk