Utmost Delight and Ricky May defy Delishka in deep stretch. Photo: Trish Dunell
There jubilant scenes when Utmost Delight capped a good season with a second Group 1 success in the 4YO Diamond at Cambridge on Saturday afternoon.
She was clearly the best horse in the race, sitting parked the last lap, kicking clear and defying Delishka in deep stretch to get the victory in the hands of Ricky May.
Breeder and owner Charles Roberts, 94, was unable to be on course due to ailing health, but his family were present to enjoy the win on his behalf.
“It’s a shame my father-in-law can’t be here to see this but it’s really good to see a plan come off,” said Roberts’ son-in-law, Paul Kenny, husband of Mary.
“We had the option of going to the Queen of the Pacific in Melbourne last month before this race.
“But Steven (Reid, trainer), Mary and I put our heads together and thought we would race at Alexandra Park twice and make this our main aim for the end of the season.
“I was brought up by a very wise lady who always said small fish are sweet.
“So, missing Melbourne and winning today justified the decision for us.”
May drove the daughter of Bettor’s Delight like the best horse in the race, which she had to be from her draw on the outside of the second line.
“Drawing the outside row means you can’t come to the races with any real expectations,” said Kenny.
“We just hoped she’d do what she always does and that’s make us immensely proud.
“And she did.”
Kenny says Reid gave him the green-light mid-week that the mare had come on well from last week’s narrow second to stablemate Star Galleria in Auckland.
“This past week, leading up to the race, Steven said she had been very, very good in her work.”
Utmost Delight's win was the only for northern trainers on the day, the rest of the card won by the All Stars, Paul Nairn and Cran Dalgety.
The new American connections of Delishka will be well-pleased with her effort for second, as will the Canterbury owners of third-placed Seaswift Joy, who led then trailed.