Michael Pitman (far left) with his jockeys from the open sprint at Waikouaiti (from left) Parvesh Shaikh, Amelia Denby, Lisa Allpress, Brittany Pitman and Agustina Comignaghi. Photo by Matt Smith.
Tom Wood wasn't just seeing double at Waikouaiti yesterday -
he was seeing quintuple.
The commentator was given the awkward challenge of calling
the open sprint at Waikouaiti which was a field entirely made
up of Michael Pitman-trained runners.
Seven horses originally accepted for the 1250m race, but
Pitman scratched two of them after they raced at Kurow,
leaving Wood with a slightly easier task. It also helped that
one jockey, Amelia Denby on Our Genes, had the addition of
black chevrons to the standard Pitman colours of red with
white striped sleeves.
There was a concerning moment before the preliminaries,
however, when Wood spotted some helmet replication among the
jockeys. He quickly put paid to that.
''There were two white caps to start off with out there, so a
call out the window [to the jockeys] fixed that,'' Wood said.
So Elusive went out favourite in the Pitman benefit, but it
was Our Genes, in the hands of Denby, who prevailed by half a
head. Pitman was thrilled to see the old campaigner post his
23rd win from 137 starts.
''Twenty-three wins - that's more than Black Caviar,'' he
Pitman brought him back to the sprint distance after he got
Our Genes off Waiuku trainer Moira Murdoch.
''When I got him, his last six or seven starts were in 2000m
races. And we've just kept him fresh and sprinted him.''
Did Pitman really care which of his runners won the race? Not
''We were happy whatever way it went.
''Ironically, the fellow [Jim Bruford] who owns So Elusive
[also] owns Our Genes.''
In the Waikouaiti Cup, Inferno capitalised on a lovely ride
by jockey Shankar Muniandy to win the $16,000 feature.
Muniandy positioned the Yamanin Vital mare just behind the
leaders before letting her down to win.
Co-trainer Shane Anderton, who prepares the mare with his
father Brian, said Inferno, now the winner of 10 races from
46 starts, would start in the open handicap at Omakau
tomorrow as long as she came through yesterday's run well.