Parker’s ‘Grand Final’ Star Stuns Queen Elizabeth Rivals

“You don’t pull the pin on your grand final. You wouldn’t have seen that if I did.”

Trainer Kerry Parker (Pic: Bradley Photos).

There was never a thought from trainer Kerry Parker about giving his stable star Think It Over his chance to win the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) despite the knowledge very heavy ground dulls his powers.

And whether you backed him or not everyone should be thanking Parker, and jockey Nash Rawiller, after an extraordinary renewal of the Star Championships’ flagship race.

It was supposed to be all about the ‘big guns’ but only Zaaki, who bravely tried to lead all the way in conditions foreign to him, would feature in the finish.

“We come here today, I said to the guys ‘we haven’t given up the ghost just because it’s wet and we can’t win’,’’ Parker said.

“We know this horse tries so hard and so does Nash and just the team is overwhelmed.

“Obviously it’s just a little bit better on the outside. Very proud of him, sensational.”

Just as it appeared that Zaaki was going to edge away at the top of the straight, after a relatively comfortable run in front, Rawiller made a bold move for victory and sent Think It Over to the outside fence.

It was a plan concocted by Rawiller and, as a $41 outsider despite his credentials which included a Group 1 second in the Australian Cup just two starts prior, it was a sight to see.

Think It Over reeled Zaaki in over the last 150m to win by half a length with $61 shot Mount Popa cutting the corner for third. Verry Elleegant could only manage fifth placing.

“Our plan was to go forward and I didn’t care if he snuck away at the 1000m,’’ Parker said.

“But Nash had gone to the inside on one earlier and went ‘yeah it’s no good there.’ So we thought we’d go to the outside this time and what a thrill.”

Rawiller, who secured the Nathan Berry Medal with his winning ride, said the important thing to him was to keep Think It Over travelling as easily as possible in the conditions so he elected to give him some room even though he was on the speed.

He paid tribute to the gelding’s will to win and revealed he came up with the plan to head to the outside fence earlier in the meeting.

“I trotted down the outside fence going to the barriers on one of them earlier in the day and thought ‘I’ll keep this up my sleeve for later’,” he said.

“Even coming down the side there I was sitting off the fence. We just tried to keep him in clear ground.

“When I straightened I thought ‘it’s worth a go’ to get to the outside. I just felt it’s where the ambulances drive and all the tractors run up the outside fence. For my bloke it was like going from a heavy 9 to slow 6 which he can handle.

“When he can handle the track he does that, he’s a very good horse.

“I thought he was going to run a good second, but when he hit that fresh patch of grass, away he went.”

– Racing NSW

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