Ben Thompson and Uncommon James have recorded their first Group 1 victory together in the Oakleigh Plate at Sandown, with the Steven O’Dea & Matthew Hoysted-trained gelding defeating the fast finishing Lofty Strike and Asfoora.
Zoustyle took off from the barriers and led at a breakneck tempo, clearing about at least six lengths by the home corner, but he couldn’t sustain that tempo and he started to slow and fall in a whole, Thompson was sitting quietly on Uncommon James and when he asked for an effort the gelding let down with a very nice turn of foot.
Last start the Cable Bay gelding was a heavily backed favourite in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes, where he was beaten by just under a length by Lofty Strike, however, he was able to flip the script second-up.
If you stuck with Uncommon James after his fresh run, you will be laughing to the bank as he jumped as a $9.50 chance with online bookmakers.
Steven O’Dea & Matthew Hoysted only had the two runners in Victoria for the big race day, with both Uncommon James and Shooting For Gold taking on one-another in the Oakleigh Plate, and Matthew Hoysted spoke post-race about their Group 1 success.
“I can’t really put it into words, I don’t think it’s really sunk in,” Hoysted said.
“I’m just so proud of this horse.
“We just knew that he had so much improvement in him coming here first-up, the last week he just improved out of sight.
“All credit to Ben (Thompson), it was a great ride to navigate that wide gate nice and early.
“The sky’s just the limit, he’s still learning what he’s doing this horse.”
Ben Thompson was very emotional after winning his first Group 1 and he spoke post-race.
“It means so much, it means everything,” Thompson exclaimed, whilst choking back tears.
“I’m a mess and I get that from my mother who’s here.
“Obviously every jockey dreams of winning a Group 1, but not every jockey gets that Group 1 winner next to their name.
“The way it’s panned out today with Uncommon James, I rode him at his first jump-out and I’ve won three times on in Queensland, it’s great.
“For it to happen in Victoria, it’s like it’s meant to be and I couldn’t be happier.”