Mark Du Plessis guides Bounding (white silks) to victory at EllersliePICTURE: Getty Images
Bounding gains Group 1 victory in Railway Stakes
Report: New Zealand, Wednesday
Ellerslie: Sistema Railway Stakes (Group 1) 6f 3yo+, turf
A BRAVE but canny ride has helped jockey Mark Du Plessis redeem himself as Bounding picked up a deserved Group 1 in the Railway Stakes at Ellerslie.
Du Plessis was criticised after Bounding was beaten by Costa Viva in the 1,000 Guineas at Riccarton in November after being caught three-wide.
Given another chance in the Railway Stakes, Du Plessis jumped the Lonhro filly out fast from the inside barrier before guiding her three-wide to better ground, away from the wet track by the rail.
It proved a masterstroke as Bounding had enough to outkick Waterford in the straight for a long neck victory.
"It feels like I've just got rid of King Kong. The monkey's off my back," Du Plessis said.
Co-trainer Ken Kelso said Du Plessis told him of his riding plan before the race and he was in full support, though he wasn't confident of Bounding's chances on the dead track.
"I didn't know if she would handle the ground. She copped it a bit in galloping back home but it's different in a Group 1 race," he said. "I was a bit worried because she got a bit wound up before the race today, but that's her. She's just special."
Waterford was game in defeat, copping a check at the start for jockey Leith Innes and being caught on the inside of the track which was a bit wet for her.
"Even with this Leith thought she would have won on a firm track," Waterford's co-trainer Tony Pike said.
It was Du Plessis's second group victory of the day after he won the Group 2 Rich Hill Mile on Pike's mare Chintz.
Pike also scored a Group race double on Wednesday, taking out the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes for two-year-olds with Vinnie Eagle.