The airborne Kelly Schweida-trained...
It had been sixteen months between wins for the former Godolphin galloper Morton’s Fork, but the punters backed the Richard Litt-trained six-year-old late and the horse didn’t disappoint taking out the $140,000 Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick.
The Ad Valorem gelding won the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) as a three-year-old in 2016 but took over three years to win in Black-Type company again saluting in the Christmas Cup 2019 on Villiers Stakes Day.
Morton’s Fork joined Litt from former trainer James Cummings during the winter and has been steadily working up to his best form, winning for his new trainer for the first time on Saturday.
“We’re very, very proud of him,” Litt told the media post-win.
“He’s a stable favourite.
“Today he was just on. I think the four weeks between runs…he put the writing on the wall today he was nice and fresh and happy.
“He’s never really put in a bad run. We’re just very, very happy.”
Runner-up in the Port Macquarie Cup in October carrying a hefty 62kg and enjoying two other placings from his six runs with Litt prior to the Christmas Cup, Morton’s Fork came into the Randwick feature on the back of an unplaced run in the Listed ATC Cup (2000m).
He atoned for that in the Christmas Cup results, relishing the step up to the mile and a half, Litt taking a chance running the galloper over the 2400m distance for the first time.
Big race specialist Glen Boss came on for his first ride on Morton’s Fork who carried 53kg to victory.
Boss celebrated his fourth Christmas Cup winning ride since 1999 having previously been aboard Crown Duo (2000), Reclaim (2004) and Lord Of The Land (2005).
“Found his right race, got the right run and he got the job done. Good effort,” Boss said of Morton’s Fork winning the 2019 Christmas Cup.
Backed in from double figures earlier in the week right into $6.50 at the jump, the eventual Christmas Cup winner settled fourth on the outside of Emperor’s Way as the John Sargent-trained Miss Moana led the field around.
Miss Moana went to the outside early and took up the lead ahead of the Chris Waller-trained stablemates Naval Warfare and Alward.
Waller, chasing a fifth Christmas Cup success in 10 years, also saddled-up the well-supported High Bridge who settled right at the back of the race.
Jockey Tommy Berry got going on High Bridge as the gallopers approached the turn for home.
Miss Moana led into the straight but was headed by a fast-finishing Morton’s Fork who charged home down the outside and hit the lead to draw away over the final 50m.
High Bridge also made up the ground late to run second, while the beaten favourite Miss Moana held for third to round out the Christmas Cup trifecta.
“She was brave up in grade,” Miss Moana’s jockey Tim Clark said.
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