Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Stunning upset by 95-1 shot Larusa

Published:Thursday | March 10, 2016 | 3:00 AMOrville Clarke

Punters were stunned into silence at Caymanas Park yesterday following a huge upset by LARUSA at 95-1 in the seventh race over 1300 metres for five-year-olds and up, non winners of two.

Ridden by 4.0kg claiming apprentice Jerome Innis for trainer Rudolph Hardial, the six-year-old mare, whose form over the past year had been dismal, to say the least, emerged from the doldrums to hold off 4-5 favourite OMEGA and 9-5

second favourite GIRSHOM

in a driving finish. This ensured there would be carryovers to Saturday in both the Pick-9 and late Super-6.

Both the jockey and trainer were

pleasantly surprised despite not being too optimistic about the chances of LARUSA based on her indifferent form.

Hardial disclosed that the chestnut mare by Tracking out of Yourpointismade finished lame in her last race behind Awesome Marque over the straight ($180,000 claiming) on January 31, but got significantly close (91/2 lengths ninth) that day and he anticipated an improved performance.

"I told the rider to put her in the pace from early and see where it takes her. When I saw her in front entering the straight, I knew then that she could hold on and just barely made it. That's the nature of racing ... a horse can throw the form out the window at any time and surprise everyone," said Hardial, who had his fair share of challenges with his string of horses in recent times.

FIFTH CAREER WIN

Innis, a past student of Eltham High in St Catherine, said he rode LARUSA to the trainer's instructions and things just fell into place.

"She turned for home full of running with Omega in chase and responded well to the right hand stick for the victory," said the 27-year-old apprentice, who notched up his fifth career win since graduating from the Jockeys' School last September.

On a day when top jockeys Dane Nelson and Shane Ellis rode two winners each, the 2014 champion sprinter POTCHEEN, running on strongly at odds of 5-2 with Jevanne Erwin aboard, out-finished the highly-fancied PUDDY POOH by half a length over the straight to win the open allowance feature in the good time of 57.2.