Victorian Ben Allen was the individual star of the show at Ellerslie on Wednesday evening, but his valiant efforts weren’t enough for his youthful side to land the Jockeys’ World Cup Prelude.
The 18-year-old won the opening event, the Edwards Sound Maiden (1400m) aboard Lily The Pink and completed a double when he guided Monrecour to victory in the feature event, the Barfoot & Thompson Twilight Cup (1500m).
But the inaugural event and a $3000 prize was won by the senior team of Jason Collett, Damian Lane and Jamie Kah, riding under the Vodafone International banner with a winning points tally of 84.
Auckland Racing Club executive general manager of racing operations Craig Baker said the concept was particularly well-received and the on-course attendance of 4500 exceeded expectations.
The Red Barn Apprentices team of Allen, Shaun McKay and Sam Weatherley finished runner-up with 73 points ahead of the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand side of Matt Cameron, Chris Johnson and Michael Coleman on 51 and the Headquarters Viaduct Women’s line-up of Alysha Collett, Sam Collett and Trudy Thornton with 48.
However, Allen can be proud of his efforts and he predicted further success for the Roger James-trained Monrecour.
“We got a beautiful run throughout,” he said. “She bounced well and I used that to our advantage and the horse was tough. She’s got the right attitude about her.”
The four-year-old sat in the trail and, once into clear air, she rounded off strongly to account for the favourite Romancer.
Monrecour had also won her previous start in Rating 65 company at Pukekohe and patient handling by James has been the key to her progression.
“She hasn’t always had the rub of the green and we’ve had to wait for her, but the owners are getting rewarded,” he said.
A daughter of Zacinto, the grey Monrecour has now won three times from 10 appearances and has only once failed to bank a cheque.