Through no fault of her own, Gingerbread Man mare Okay To Pay had been on a 10-run losing streak before scoring a head-bobbing victory in the Freeway Ford Hcp (1000m) on Friday evening at Cranbourne
The Phillip Stokes-trained sprinter landed in front and kept the fence despite being headed by Rock Artist who crossed to the running line from an outside gate. They settled down to a two-horse war and left it to the judge to confirm the result.
“I thought she had won but didn’t realise it was that close,” stable foreman Michael Harrison admitted after viewing the photo. “She’s a quality mare but I was concerned when Rock Artist took her on because he can be a very hard horse to pass.
“It’s been a while since her last win but she’s been a victim of her own success. There have been excuses and she’s also had to compete with a high rating since that Moonee Valley victory last year.”
Yarradale Stud stallion Gingerbread Man (pictured) sired her from Born Princess (Elusive Quality), a Moonee Valley-winning daughter of Yarradale ’s G2 Karrakatta Plate winner Born Priceless (Pricelessly).
Okay To Pay has won 6 races and over $200,000 in prizemoney for Aqua Thoroughbreds owner Tom Curnow. He has a Group 1 connection with Yarradale through War Chant (USA) mare Silent Sedition who won the 2017 William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley.
Winning jockey Sheridan Clarke rated Okay To Pay perfectly in the BM70 sprint clocking 58.20s over 1000m. “She will take plenty of confidence out of that win,” Clarke said. “She relishes tight turning tracks with a short straight.”
Gingerbread Man (Shamardal) sired a ground-breaking win for trainer Gary Hall Snr when Kipitaki broke through in the Treloar Transport Services Maiden (1000m) at Pinjarra on Wednesday. She’s a homebred for Tracy Reay and John Jelf and became the first gallops winner for Hall who was inducted to the WA Hall of Fame in 2014 after a trail-blazing career in harness racing.