Oliver Twist was Charles Dickens famous fictional character who asked for more food in a workhouse, but the modern twist in the story saw jockey Jarrad Noske ask for more in a desperate finish in the Ascot Autumn Membership Hcp (1500m).
There was only the proverbial pixel in the photo that separated Oliver’s Travels against Western Temple (William Pike) in the two horse struggle in the home straight.
Western Temple, resuming from a spell, lost no supporters with his determined effort to peg the favourite back in the run to the line.
In fact, trainer Simon Miller, like Noske, thought their form horse had gone down in the last stride.
“I knew he would dig in and fight but he was a bit of a sitting duck being out in front too far out and I thought we had been beaten,” Miller said.
Noske said his charge had jumped well and that it would have been a wrestle to restrain him.
Putting paid to Gloryland on the turn, Oliver’s Travels scooted away at the 200m mark and seemed set for an easy win similar to his victory on January 13.
Instead it developed into a fierce battle between two form riders, both fresh from a mid -week Bunbury treble, before the form galloper prevailed to win his fifth race from eight starts in his current campaign.
Miller said Oliver’s Travels would start again in three weeks at Pinjarra.
Miller had an easier time watching the next race when William Pike also delivered for the trainer with Royal Missile, coming from worse than midfield to win going away in the Glenroy Chaff Handicap (1100m).
“She lost her way a bit after early victories,” Miller said referring to her last victory on October 15, 2016 and that Pike had placed her in a beautiful spot to deliver her emphatic comeback to the winners circle.
Pike was not so complimentary of himself. “I bungled the first 100m, got crossed (from barrier 3) and shuffled back so it was a nice effort.”
Pike said he thought the four year old mare was running at her right distance.
Miller had been offered good money for Royal Missile last year as a brood mare and claimed her win would help enhance that value.
Miller, who had a winning Ascot treble last Saturday, maintained a 100 per cent strike at this meeting with both of his runners winning.
Lucy Warwick railed brilliantly late in the race to deprive Pike of a treble when she scooted along the rails late in the race to grab Pike’s mount, My Grace, in the last race of the day (1600m).
A wry Fred Kersley said that Lucy had disobeyed trainer and owners instructions to produce a memorable winning ride!
“I was running up bums and did everything wrong on the turn,” was Warwick’s summary of her ride.
But she followed Pike and was then able to make a winning move on the inside of him.