Trainer Luke Fernie never lost faith in Ripcord and was duly rewarded after the gelding scored a dramatic last-gasp win in the $500,000 Listed Placid Ark Stakes (1200m) at Ascot.
Fernie knew with Ripcord he had an above average horse going into the Placid Ark Stakes, but would the son of Written By be able to overcome bad luck after his two most recent starts?
With all the pre-race talk focused on speedy Oscar’s Fortune and Augment, who was backed into favouritism late, Ripcord went largely unnoticed in discussions and started at $11.
However, bad luck that affected Ripcord in the 3YO Classic (1000m) and Belgravia Stakes (1200m) looked set to repeat itself in the Placid Ark Stakes when Oscar’s Fortune kicked clear in the straight.
Jockey William Pike set sail for home on Oscar’s Fortune and looked to have the race parceled up with Augment looking the only challenger and Ripcord a mile back near the tail of the field.
But after being hooked wide by jockey Clint Johnston-Porter at the top of the straight, Ripcord unleashed a paralysing burst of speed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Ripcord inflicted Oscar’s Fortune’s first defeat, scoring by a short-head.
Augment, who had the drop on frontrunner, Oscar’s Fortune throughout, ran third.
“This whole prep he has being going super,” Fernie said.
“He’s sort of been unlucky two runs back.
“I wouldn’t have changed him for any other horse in the race today, I’ve always known he has a big motor.
“He showed that today and is a ripper, he’s such a beautiful horse with a great nature.
“You just have to look at him to know he is something special.
“He let down really quickly and I think the drop in weight was the key for him today.”
Fernie conceded he thought Ripcord was running for second when Oscar’s Fortune set up a big lead.
“When Oscar’s kicked clear I thought if I can’t win I want Dion (Luciani) to win as he’s one of my best mates,” Fernie said.
“Then when it got closer I thought, bugger you, I want to you to run over the top of him.”
Luciani was inches away from grabbing his second Placid Ark Stakes victory after My Bella Mae last year.
Ripcord, who showed his class to win the Listed Perth Stakes (1100m) on debut in April, improved his record to two wins and three placings from six starts for nearly half-a-million dollars in prizemoney.
He can add significantly to that win tally and prize pool in next fortnight’s Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
Fernie said he’s keeping his options open.