After All That claims inaugural Highway Anniversary

After All That
After All That drives along the inside to upset favourite Suncraze in the Highway Anniversary at Randwick. Photo: Bradley Photos

AFTER All That defied a late betting drift to narrowly win the inaugural $200,000 Highway Anniversary at Randwick on Everest day.

The six-year-old gelding touched $5.50 earlier in the week, but it drifted notably to $11.40 at come start time as punters rallied around Pumpkin Pie and Suncraze, with the latter running a close second.

After All That is a Rodney Northam-trained gelding which raced in The Shorts behind Redzel last start, but this grade was always going to be easier and jockey Robert Thompson ensured it didn’t cover any extra ground by sneaking a run along the inside.

“Special thanks to my trainer Rod who has really mapped this race out a long time ago for this horse and it has all paid off,” Thompson said after the race.

“It is like winning The Everest for us battling country people.”

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Rodney Northam was over the moon with the result and he was pleased with the ride from Thompson.

“He’s a really good, honest horse. He tries his heart out. It’s brilliant,” Northam said. “We ran second in the Country Championship but this has just eclipsed that, it’s really good.

“We’ve been together for a while and he has pulled out one of his special ones today. [The shortest way home is the fence] That’s what he always says.”

The win had special significance for Northam, who was running After All That in partnership with a deserved charity.

“Where There’s A Will is a charity that was instigated to educate people with depression,” Northam explained. “It’s something they have put into schools, they go around educating people, more in the Upper Hunter, and hopefully it will expand from there.

“It’s a really good charity and hopefully they will get some publicity from this.”

There were some good runs in behind which included Suncraze. The talented gelding finished second for the seventh time in 10 starts, but it hit the line with purpose after travelling wide throughout.

“Ran well. Big weight but he hit the line good,” jockey Corey Brown said.

Pumpkin Pie was the hard-luck story of the race and jockey Hugh Bowman summed it up well.

“Had no luck. Had no room.”

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