Best of the Flat 2018 – Favourite Moments
Our writers pick their best moments from the 2018 Flat season.
Pat Cosgrave with the ride of the year on Best Solution in the Caulfield Cup
For anyone that has not yet seen the race, then I suggest you watch a replay somewhere online. It is easy for a punter to praise a jockey when he or she has had a few quid on a winning bet, however I had no personal financial interest on Best Solution – so can’t be accused of talking through my pocket. Drawn in stall 15 it was never going to be easy for Cosgrave to get a handy position early on, so he appeared to take a slight tug as the gates opened and so missed the initial dash. Last after around 50 yards or so he switched his mount to the complete outside but moved him up on the run to the winning post on the first circuit. By time the field hit the back straight Best Solution and Cosgrave were sitting in a handy fourth place – just in behind the pacesetters, despite covering the extra ground on the outside. There he stayed with Pat trying to conserve some energy for the latter stages. However, his cards were probably played a little earlier than he planned, when The Taj Mahal made a sudden rush with just over three furlongs to run and Cosgrave was then committed in a split second to go with him – it was simply make-or-break. It was a decision that proved be the right one, with Best Solution grabbing that valuable couple of lengths on the chasing pack, eventually holding on by only a short head to the closing Australian trained Homesman. A truly outstanding ride.
On the Knavesmire
I don’t think there’s much that can beat a day at the races but there is something special about going to York and this year’s Ebor day personified that for me to make it one of the most enjoyable days racing I have had in a long while. It wasn’t that I backed a lot of winners, although it was a paying day, but the realisation that York does it so well. It was a big Saturday crowd but that does not impede getting around and seeing what you want to see. And the fact that I met friends old and new and took advantage of (and probably a little too much of) the competitively priced fizz is a reminder that York delivers value for money. My personal highlight of the Flat this year.
On a hat trick
Seeing Masar hit the front at Epsom on Derby Day after tipping him in my column that day. It is a shame we could not see how good the horse was. He had won the Craven by a distance and had Roaring Lion behind twice. My Derby record was poor as I had not picked the winner since 2005 (only two winners backed up to then since 1983) and suddenly I have picked the last two. Pressure is on for the hat trick.
Garry Sears, centre, watches Lord Glenaghcastle trained by Gary Moore leave the winner’s enclosure
A proper celebration
Opening the racecard at Epsom on 30 September and the seeing the Gary Sears 60th Birthday Celebration Handicap didn’t have the word Memorial in the title – enjoyed the day after that.