Stewards grill jockey Josh Parr over ride on Roheryn
JOCKEY Josh Parr faced a stewards grilling that went so long it had to be momentarily adjourned to run race two after hot-pot Roheryn's shock loss in the opening race at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
When it did resume after the running on the second race, stewards again adjourned proceedings for a more detailed undertaking of the events.
Parr was heckled by at least one angry punter while returning to scale after boom colt Roheryn suffered his first loss at odds of $1.50
As he did when winning easily at Rosehill at his most recent start, Roheryn was taken back to last and patiently ridden by Parr before charging home.
Only this time, horse and rider ran out of time and ground for a repeat performance, leading to the marathon stewards inquiry.
Both Parr and trainer James Cummings gave evidence as to the running of the race.
Parr calmly defended his handling of Roheryn under rapid-fire questions from Racing NSW chief steward Mark Van Gestel.
"Both James and I spoke before the race and we both thought that, similar to his previous start, he would settle at the rear of the field," Parr told Van Gestel.
"We didn't think that would too much of a negative - that's how we won here two weeks ago."
Cummings confirmed the instructions given to Parr before the race.
Van Gestel went on to probe every aspect of Parr's handling of the horse, including when they seemed to lose touch with the leaders at a vital stage.
"Even with the suggested back off in speed, (Roheryn) wasn't able to grab the bit as such and really travel behind (the horse in front of him) Beidi,'' Parr said.
"I was on a pretty loose rein. Beidi was struggling with the speed along with my mount and that's the reason we ended up so far from (back).
"I was trying to keep in touch with the field for the entire race. As far as asking the horse for the full effort, I believe I came to the outside of Beidi just prior to straightening and we were pretty much at top speed at that stage.''
Van Gestel quizzed Parr about his vigour and urgency on Roheryn in the middle stages of the race.
"My actions might not look like I'm encouraging the horse forward but I am certainly not doing the opposite, which would be holding him up,'' Parr said.
Cummings, who sat alongside Parr in the inquiry, concurred with Parr's assessment that it simply looked a case of horse and rider getting too far back on the day.
"The front markers have really ran him ragged from their forward position and it's one thing for Josh to get going but Roheryn was only 'just' travelling at the 800m and I suppose Josh was hoping that they would slow the last furlong sufficiently that Roheryn would be able to catch them,'' Cummings said.
"I would have been disappointed if (Parr) took off at the 800m and busted the horse as a result. The pace of the race just didn't suit him today.
"Josh and I have exchanged no cross words, he's doing his best.
"Everyone here knows it, he got too far back and I think he got beaten by a fair horse today.''
Roheryn's unexpected defeat overshadowed the win of Chess Star, who races in the same colours of the unbeaten two-year-old and now emerging stallion, Fighting Sun.
Like him, Chess Star is co-trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, the latter on hand to heap praise of the handsome colt.
''He had to do it at both ends here today,'' Bott said.''He put the writing on the wall with a really string trial in open company so we were pretty happy with him coming into this race.
"I think there is so much upside to this horse. There is a lot of improvement to go. He is a horse that we might look at the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas with and campaign in Queensland on the way to that event.''