Oh What a night as Jackie pounces to Sew up mares upset

Sew What (Stuart McCormick)

Michael Howard

Jackie Barker seized the moment and her “favourite” horse responded in a way she wasn’t sure the mare could, landing trainer Diane Giles a coveted Allied Express Cinderella Stakes.

The headliner on a nine-race card at Melton, the $30,000 prize was snaffled by Sew What on a night that saw some high-class types shone and others upset by long-odds rivals.

Sew What, a $23 chance, was among that latter number, producing the richest win of her 96-start career after Barker capitalised when her lead rival, favourite Encipher, slid from contention.

“I really love this horse, she’s my favourite one to drive,” Barker told TrotsVision.

That connection would have only been enhanced by their performance tonight, when Barker worked forward from gate five only to be left exposed in the breeze after Emma Stewart’s class trio improved to the first three places on the pegs, with Encipher leading ahead of Petillante and Beach Life.

“It sort of didn’t really work out how I’d hoped it would mid-race,” Barker said. “(Sew What)’s not known for being that tough, she’s more of a sit-sprinter, so I wasn’t feeling overly confident in the run.

“But down the back I was obviously travelling better than the horse in front (Encipher), which was obviously having some sort of issues, and with the stablemates both locked up behind I let her roll a lot sooner than what I usually would and it just paid off.”

Stewards would later report that Encipher suffered an atrial fibrillation, which would see her fade from contention at the 600-metre mark. While Encipher’s trailing stablemates were shuffled back, Barker and Sew What made a break, grabbing a few much needed lengths.

Every millimetre would prove vital, with Sew What holding on in the run to the line to score by a short half-head from Petillante, with the photo finish required to split the first two home.

“I wasn’t too sure (I won) to be honest,” Barker said. “I actually said to Murph (driver David Murphy) when we were pulling up I think I might have got beat, because the other horse was coming with such momentum, but luckily we just held on.

“She’s definitely shown that she’s up to this grade. She hasn’t always had the best luck with barrier draws and things. Obviously coming up against a lot of Emma Stewart’s really nice mares it’s always going to be hard work.

“I think definitely she’s a horse if she gets the right run she’s always going to be deadly late.”

The last leg of the quaddie, the upset result contributed to the pool partially jackpotting, having followed wins by Cobber ($13) and Cemetery Bay ($61) in addition to short-priced Dannemora winning the Congratulations Kerryn Manning AM Pace.