The Phillip Stokes stable again showed it could win anywhere, anytime, with a treble at Murray Bridge on Saturday – stable jockey also Kayla Crowther chiming in with a double late in the day.
Koruto ($3.50 favourite), Too Good Too Hard ($3.70) and Highly Discreet ($3.70 favourite), in an eye-catching late drive to the post after looking out of the running, showed the team was a force to be reckoned with, no matter the venue.
Crowther found early trouble on Highly Discreet in a 1400m Benchmark 68, before landing the prize in a cool, calm and collected ride.
But it was a true team effort, with stable rep Tommy Stokes taking the time to leave the course and return with the horse later in the day so it didn’t have as long to wait for its run in the last race.
The stable may also have found the recipe for success for Too Good Too Hard after winning a Benchmark 82 – keep stable jockey Crowther on board.
Crowther has had just two race-day rides on the five-year-old mare for two wins, at Sale in a maiden in May 2019 and Saturday’s win, although she had ridden her mount in trials.
Well supported at $3.70, Too Good Too Hard charged home to beat stablemate Octane and favourite Toff Love.
Too Good Too Hard was too good for @KaylaCrowther2 and @pstokesracing 🤩 pic.twitter.com/tzHIf0pgA3
Tommy Stokes was rapt with the winner’s effort but there was just as much love about Octane’s improved run.
“It was a bit of a thrill for both horses to run well, but Too Goo Too Hard deserved that and is probably off to the breeding barn,’’ Stokes said.
“I am so happy with the winner, but probably even happier for that horse (Octane). We have done a heap of jumping with it and maybe can win one soon.’’
Crowther said that her mount had responded well at the business part of the race.
“It was massive, there wasn’t much speed in the race,’’ Crowther said.
“I had to wind her up early. I thought she had peaked, but she did it well.’’
Koruto was the first winner for the Stokes team at the Bridge, taking out a Benchmark 60 over 1200m.
Jacob Opperman shared riding honours with a double on Victory Club and Dr Dee Dee.
Outlaws Revenge ($7.50) made it four wins and two placings from eight starts when it finished well to win a 3YO 1200m Benchmark 70.
Sitting off the leaders, jockey Dom Tourneur steered the Ryan Balfour-trained runner to the front in the straight, holding off favourite Star of Uma ($1.80) and Cool Magnum ($19).
It had been a heartbreaking 24 hours for the Balfour stable with the sudden loss of the gallant Li’l Kontra, who died in transport on the way to the Gold Coast for the Magic Millions.
Winning Weather, resuming after a break of 19 weeks, came with a well-timed run to beat favourite Hypersonic and Hills in 1000m Benchmark 68.
Trained by Leon Macdonald/Andrew Gluyas and ridden by Jason Holder, the 3yo filly brought up its third win from 10 starts.
Co-trainer Gluyas said the stable was pleased with the first-up effort.
“She hasn’t been the easiest to train – she takes a bit of TLC (tender loving care) but it was good she presented first-up,’’ Gluyas said.
Meanwhile, jockeys Justin Potter and Jess Eaton returned to riding at the Bridge after recovering from their respective injuries.
Eaton, leading the jockeys’ premiership table by four wins, was injured in a race-day fall earlier this month, while Potter has missed more than six months after a trackwork accident in October last year.
Originally published asStokes stable Too Good at the Bridge
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