BART CUMMINGS made it trackside yesterday to see ”justice done” as Norzita grabbed the Flight Stakes at Randwick.
As he waited for his 265th group 1 winner to come back, the living legend joked with chairman of stewards Ray Murrihy that his filly should have kept the Tea Rose Stakes a fortnight ago.
”They can’t take that off her,” Cummings said. ”They should not have taken the other one either.”
Murrihy retorted: ”If you won by 3½ lengths last time you would have been right.”
Norzita proved too strong for Longport, which had benefited from the protest decision in the Tea Rose. She streaked clear in the final 100 metres to score by 2½ lengths from Longport, with 1½ length back to Dear Demi.
”She’s OK, isn’t she?” Cummings said. ”She can go to the Thousand Guineas and win that and the other one [Duet] can go to the Oaks down there [in Melbourne]. She went well as well, I think she ran fifth and is on track for the Oaks.”
Hugh Bowman had given Norzita the perfect ride in a slowly run race, which Longport controlled from the front, and at the 600m mark he came three wide to be poised to strike turning for home. He went up on the outside of Longport and the two squared off to fight out the race. But Norzita stamped her authority inside 200m.
”She always travelled and always felt like she was going to give a kick,” Bowman said. ”I had ridden her on Tuesday morning and was so confident after that. She didn’t let me down.”
For Bowman, who replaced Corey Brown after the Tea Rose, it was a second consecutive Flight Stakes after winning on Streama last year, but this was very special.
”It is just a privilege to win a group 1 for him [Cummings],” Bowman said. ”I have been riding for him since I was an apprentice.”
Gai Waterhouse’s filly Urban Groove, which had won her only two starts, was backed from $3.50 into $2.80 but couldn’t match the winner when she sprinted. ”She has come a long way and will be better for that run at the mile,” Nash Rawiller said.
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