Hard To Cross heads New Zealand-bred quinella

Jaylah Kennedy guides Hard To Cross home to win at Sandown. Photo: Bruno Cannatelli

Sandown specialist Hard To Cross made it four wins from five starts at the venue when he posted a comfortable victory in the Benchmark 84 Handicap (1600m) on Saturday.

In the process the Patrick Payne-prepared son of All Too Hard headed home a kiwi-bred one-two with seven-year-old Jimmy Choux gelding Trosettee, a stablemate of the winner, charging home late to claim second.

Apprentice Jaylah Kennedy, the daughter of Dunedin-based trainers Terry and Debbie Kennedy, handled the four-year-old to perfection as she settled Hard To Cross one-off the fence in fourth place as Georgie Get Mad set up a solid tempo in front.

Kennedy bided her time before asking the gelding for his best at the 200m where he charged to the lead before holding out Trosettee by three-quarters of a length at the line.

Payne stable representative Neil Greaves was thrilled with the effort of both the horse and apprentice, who has been kicking home winners on a regular basis.

“Horses just seem to run well for her, and she rode that one perfectly,” Greaves said.

“She has been riding a heap of winners and although Patrick is a little better qualified to assess her riding skills, I think it is there for people to see.

“Luke Currie also rode the runner-up perfectly as well, so we are pretty happy with the way things turned out.

“I can’t see the reason why they (both horses) wouldn’t keep going the next two to three weeks as there are similar races here and Patrick likes to take a claim where he can if it suits the horse.”

Kennedy was delighted to get the win on Hard To Cross at her first ride on the horse.

“He has been presented in terrific order and placed really well with the light weight and when I settled that close it doesn’t always pan out like that, but with the 52.5kgs he was pretty dominant,” she said.

“I was lucky I had the horse underneath me to put me in the forward position and he was very good.

“I hit the front fairly early, but I was travelling so strongly and if something had come up and contested with me, he would have pinned the ears back and kept rolling.”

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