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By Graham Potter | Saturday, July 9, 2022

Days on her home track aren’t ever likely to come much bigger than this for Jasmine Cornish.

Every jockey wants to win their home-town cup and Cornish ticked that box off on July 9 when the smart Lemon Duchess turned in a typical, fully committed performance to ultimately prevail in the Beaudesert Cup by a 0.20 length margin from the race favourite Azarmin.

The Cup victory was always going to be the main course of the day, but the fact that Cornish had earlier serve up another landmark win as an entrée … landing her one hundredth career win aboard the Les Ross trained Alert State (see separate story) made the results of the day just that much more complete.

The Greg Cornish trained Lemon Duchess has proved to be a revelation since teaming up with Jasmine Cornish.

Cornish has ridden the four-year-old daughter of Tycoon Ruler in twelve of her twenty-eight starts and they have returned as winners on no less than six of those occasions (with two runner-up finishes), including a run of four wins and an oh so close second place in their last six starts … with that second placing coming in Lemon Duchess’s first metropolitan run.

No surprise then that Lemon Duchess was the home-town favourite going into the big race, a 1650m Open Handicap, but the betting boards indicated that she would have to take care of the Kris lees trained Azarmin first if she was to claim a memorable victory. (Azarmin was marked up at $2.50 with Lemon Duchess at $2.80).

What the betting boards had right was that the Cup would come down to a two-horse contest, but Lemon Duchess went out with Cornish determined to prove that she was aboard the best horse in the race. And she did that to a nicety.

In fact, it would be fair to say that Cornish controlled the race throughout.

She jumped Lemon Duchess well and the mare had the gate speed to race into the lead from the number five barrier draw, but Cornish elected to not take Lemon Duchess across to the rail, instead staying three off the fence in what would turn out to be a very savvy ride.

Going down the back straight, the grey Glen Ord ($4.20) did kick up along the inside to momentarily share the lead with Lemon Duchess, but the Greg Cornish trained runner then eased back into the outright lead at a measured gallop as Cornish was happy to let the field pack up behind her.

Approaching the home turn Glen Ord, again, and Nordic Show ($26) were both trying to apply pressure on Lemon Duchess by creeping forward, but Cornish, with Lemon Duchess still well off the fence, knew exactly what line she wanted to take and was all of four wide on straightening.

By that stage Glen Ord had already cried enough and Nordic Show was starting to struggle, but a new challenge had emerged, as expected, from the favourite Azarmin.

Azarmin had made ground under hard riding in the sweep to the home turn and the Lees trained runner cornered just two lengths behind Lemon Duchess, with the chase for the Cup now well and truly on.

Cornish got Lemon Duchess to kick early in the straight, enough to maintain that two length advantage until 75m from home but, from there, Azarmin begam to close ground.

For a moment it looked like it would get very close, but Lemon Duchess and Cornish never blinked and, with Lemon Duchess once again bravely giving her all to the line, they flashed through the line, still 0.20 lengths ahead of Azarmin.

All credit to Lemon Duchess, to Jasmine Cornish for a well thought out tactical ride and last, but not least, to trainer Greg Cornish, for continuing to turn Lemon Duchess in such prime condition, both physically and mentally.

“It was always the plan to stay wide,” confirmed Jasmine Cornish.

“The track was really, really wet on the inside, so I was quite happy to sit four wide on the better part of the track.

“All of the jockeys did speak about it before and we said that, if we wanted to keep the races going on the day, we had to ride a bit wider on the track (there were small fields).

“In the Cup, some did try to go up on the inside. That was perfectly fine by me. I wanted to be on the better part of the track, and I kept that line.

“As usual, she showed a lot of fight. At the corner she felt like she was sucking back a little bit and I thought that maybe she was going to slip away on me, but then I gave her a little squeeze and she’s like, alright … I’ve got this … and she just kept responding. We just work so well as a team.

‘It was great. It was my dad’s first time winning the Cup. Mom’s won it, but not on any of our horses, so it really was a great moment for us.

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What a moment for Team Cornish ... as Jasmine and Greg celebrate a their home Cuop victory

Photo: Beaudesert Race Club (facebook)
What a moment for Team Cornish ... as Jasmine and Greg celebrate a their home Cuop victory

Photo: Beaudesert Race Club (facebook)
Jasmine Cornish and Lemon Duchess ... Beaudesert Cup winners

Photo: Graham Potter
Jasmine Cornish and Lemon Duchess ... Beaudesert Cup winners

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