Replacing a world-class jockey on an unknown horse is no easy task but Josh Parr has risen to the occasion, producing a spectacular ride on Japanese raider Obamburumai to triumph in the $10 million Golden Eagle at Rosehill.
International superstar Yutaka Take was booked to ride Obamburumai in Saturday’s 1500m feature but was injured in a race day incident in Japan last Sunday and unable to make the trip.
Parr got the belated call-up on Tuesday, had his first sit on the horse in a trackwork gallop on Wednesday before turning up at Rosehill three days later to land his biggest win.
“What a moment this is in my career, my life, everything,” Parr said.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to pick up this horse today.
“Obviously, the disappointment of Yutaka Take missing out through injury, that doesn’t sit right with me, but the fact I was Johnny-on-the-spot, I got the ride and I produced one of my better ones to get the victory. I’m speechless.”
Parr settled Obamburumai ($7) worse than midfield from his inside draw and had a wall of horses ahead of him as the big field thundered for home.
But he didn’t panic, backing the horse underneath him to pick his way through runs before exploding through a late split to defeat Pericles ($12) by a long head with the runner-up’s Godolphin stablemate Golden Mile ($41) another half-length away.
Winning trainer Keiji Yoshimura made the journey from Japan to oversee Obamburumai’s Sydney preparations and rated the horse’s Golden Eagle (1500m) win as one of the most significant of his career.
“Really, to be able to win on such a big stage, the international stage in Australia, it gives me a confidence boost going forward as a trainer,” Yoshimura said through an interpreter.
“I have never screamed so loud after a race in my life.
“It was a perfect ride by Josh. He took some time before the race to go over the tactics and he just played it out perfectly.”
There were some hard luck tales back in the field, few moreso than $3.70 bookmaker favourite Amelia’s Jewel with jockey Damian Lane amazed he and the mare didn’t come down.
“I’m glad I came back in the jockeys’ room alive,” Lane said.
Zac Lloyd said Golden Mile turned in a “peak performance” after having to work early to cross from an outside draw, while Ben Melham was thrilled with the effort of Pericles.
“He had a beaut trip, came off the leader’s back, after straightening and I thought he was home. He just got beaten by a better one on the day,” Melham said.
Obamburumai was the first Japanese-trained horse to compete at Sydney’s Everest carnival and after Saturday’s performance, he is unlikely to be the last.
– RAS NewsWire