A lean and hungry Jake Bayliss was rewarded at Ellerslie for his belief.
The Australian jockey’s New Zealand stint gained further momentum on Saturday with Group Three wins in the Brighthill Farm Concorde Handicap (1200m) aboard Julius and the Windsor Park Stud City of Auckland Cup (2400m) with Charles Road.
“Getting down to 53kg is the bottom of the barrel for me, but I dug deep to get my weight down and it’s paid dividends – I knew they were very good rides,” Bayliss said.
Not the easiest horse to handle, Charles Road raced outside of the leader early in the running before settling just off the pace set up by Gobstopper.
“I was very confident going into today,” Bayliss said. “I wanted to get some cover and did when another one came around me.”
Charles Road ambled up to challenge about 300m from home before kicking clear and the four-year-old had enough in reserve to hold off the late run of Five To Midnight and Hugh Bowman to win for the fourth time in his 15-start career.
“I held him together for as long as I could and then he started to get his head up, but fortunately his head was sticking down at the right time,” Bayliss said.
Charles Road is trained by Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott and races in David Archer’s colours, which were carried by his multiple Group One winner and former two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa.
“It was a great performance and he’s a horse with a lot of ability, but he still does a lot of things wrong,” O’Sullivan said.
Charles Road wins 2018 Auckland Cup