ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE: Robert Thompson steered Plaisir to victory on Saturday.NEWCASTLE four-year-old Plaisir landed a hefty plunge when he produced an extraordinary last-to-first performance to win the 1400-metre Class 2 Handicap at Saturday’s Newcastle race meeting.
Bookmakers offered as much as $6 about Plaisir on Friday but his odds shortened dramatically in the closing stages of betting and he was a pronounced $3.40 favourite at the barrier rise.
After a first-up unplaced effort from a spell at Newcastle two weeks earlier, Plaisir’s owner David Atkins called on his old mate, Hall of Fame jockey Robert Thompson, to reunite with the gelding on Saturday.
Their prospects looked grim when the barriers opened and Plaisir dropped back four lengths behind the field.
The situation had not improved when the field reached the 600-metre point and Plaisir was still lengths behind the second-last horse.
Approaching the 500-metre mark, the favourite tacked onto the field, Thompson steered him to the centre of the track, and he started to unwind.
Plaisir finished the race with such gusto he won by 1½lengths.
Atkins said Plaisir hadshown his best form and he was not concerned with the lacklustre start.
“You have to let him do his own thing,” he said.
“He can’t be bustled early in his races because he gets on the bit and charges.
“I told Robert not to jam him up in the barrier and let him be where he is happy.
“I wasn’t concerned when Plaisir was so far off them because the race was run at a fast tempo and my horse can reel off fast last sections off a hot pace.
“I will bypass the Provincial Championships with him, because now that he has had a couple of runs he will want a further trip.
“This horse is a very slow learner, and after 12 starts he is still learning what it is all about.”
As for Thompson, it was another day at the office for the history-making hoop as he took his career total to 4330 winners.
“That was some win,” Thompson said afterwards.
“They went hard up front and his last 400 metres was sensational. Even though he was so far back I was confident he would storm home, and at the top of the straight I knew I had them.”
Randwick trainer Mark Newnham sent four horses to Newcastle and he finished the day with a winner, a dead heat for first, a third and a fourth.
Meanwhile, the Kris Lees-trained Zestful finished a narrow second in the group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200 metres) at Randwick on Saturday.