A late decision by trainer Mathew Ellerton to switch plans with Pin Your Hopes has been rewarded at Flemington, with the in-form gelding adding to his winter winning streak.
Ellerton had been planning to start Pin Your Hopes in Saturday’s 1600m benchmark 90 but instead opted for the Henry Bolte Handicap (1800m).
Apprentice Ben Thompson used his initiative early in the race, rolling to the front of the field of six.
Pin Your Hopes ($4.40), which Ellerton says is relishing soft tracks, defeated Kenjorwood ($3.30) by three lengths, with Rhythm To Spare at 3-3/4 lengths in third.
It was the third-straight win for Pin Your Hopes and the fourth from his past five starts.
“I rang Ben’s manager (on Wednesday morning) and asked if he’d taken a ride in this race. He said no so Ben stayed on him,” Ellerton said.
Ellerton, who trains in partnership with Simon Zahra, said the fact Pin Your Hopes had less weight in the 1800m race and only had 52kg with Thompson’s claim was a telling factor.
“The mile race was going to be a bigger field and it might have been a bit more complicated,” he said.
Thompson and Pin Your Hopes have built a good combination with the apprentice riding the six-year-old gelding five times this campaign, including his past three wins.
Ellerton admits retirement was considered for Pin Your Hopes after the Yarra Valley Cup in March because the gelding had not won since May 2014.
But it seems a spell has made all the difference.
“Since he’s been back he’s had six starts from his little freshen-up and they’ve all been really good,” Ellerton said.