Leading apprentice hoop Ben Paterson was the first to admit feeling the pressure leading up to this years listed $80,000 Belmont Oaks 2000m for the 3yo fillies, and rightly so – having retained the ride aboard raging favourite and last month’s Belmont Guineas (1600m) victor Summah’s Touch.
Monstered in all lead up markets, the Adam Durrant trained Blackfriars filly opened at an outrageous $1.65, before drifting to $1.90. Despite the late drift, this was the race set for Summah’s Touch – we all knew it, and we all clamoured around the frightened bookies to secure a little piece of the “good thing”. But to win a big race you require a big race ride aboard a big race horse prepared by a big race trainer, and no one can argue that it is simply magical to watch the culmination of these prerequisites come together.
And what a ride it would be – sitting midfield with plenty of cover early in proceedings, Paterson worked his mount away from the fence and into the clear swinging the turn, before exploding over the final furlong for an emphatic two length victory. Elle On Friar ($31.00) worked home well from eighth on the turn to claim second, two lengths ahead of the tiring Fashion Princess ($6.50).
The result extends Paterson’s lead in the Apprentice Jockey Premiership to 3 ½ wins ahead of fellow young hoop Chris Parnham.