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By Graham Potter | Sunday, August 7, 2022

Jasmine Cornish certainly has her followers … as shown by the cheer squad that loudly celebrated her return to scale on the two winners she piloted to victory at the Gold Coast on August 6, the opening Saturday of the 2022/23 racing season.

Cornish would quickly add another winner to her tally at a meeting at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday August 7 … making it a good start for the 2021/22 Queensland Apprentice Jockey’s Provincial Premiership winner … but hardened punters and cheer squads are two different entities and Cornish left many punters reeling when her three weekend winners came home at odds of $10, $21 and $41 … with even longer prices being offered on some of these runners in the pre-race betting.

Every jockey needs winners to attract attention to their value as a rider, perhaps no better than winners on long shots.

These results show that Cornish has taken up exactly where she left off after her highly successful season over the last twelve months in which she duelled with Angela Jones who, similarly, had a breakthrough season to remember, right until the last stride for that State Provincial Premiership.

Tikka Ready was the first of the weekend winners for Cornish.

The Scott Morrisey charge was easy to back at $10 in a Class 1 Plate over 1100m at the Gold Coast, in good part because of the presence of the very short-priced $1.90 favourite Celtic Harp.

While the betting also probably reflected the fact that Tikka Ready had finished more than seven lengths back in his previous two starts (at Doomben and the Sunshine Coast), a closer look at his form revealed that the last time Tikka Ready competed at the Gold Coast (his home track) he came back a winner … and, when the dust had settled on this one, Tikka Ready would have elevated his track performance to that of a double success.

Cornish signalled her intention to take no prisoners right from the start as she not only chased Tikka Ready around his field from the widest barrier in the field of seven, but also drove him into a telling four length lead in the early part of the back stretch.

Having got to where she wanted to be early, Cornish then gave Tikka Ready a breather mid-race which allowed the $3.60 second favourite Dark Horse to move up to Tikka Ready’s quarters, looking to take the early leader on, but Cornish refused to relinquish the lead and she matched strides, holding that slight advantage, with Dark Horse until the home turn, where another flick of the wrists by Cornish had Tikka Ready changing gears again and opening up more of a gap on Dark Horse.

It soon became apparent that Tikka Ready was comfortably holding Dark Horse at bay and it then became a question of whether any runner was capable of coming out of the pack to chase down the long-time leader, but, although Tabulam ($10) did run on best of the rest and was closing ground late, Tikka Ready still had a length to spare at the line to score a well judged victory.

The second leg of the Jasmine Cornish double at the Gold Coast on August 6 came aboard the Ethan Ensby trained Mychyna, who started at unwanted odds of $21 in a Maiden Handicap over 1200m.

This win gave Cornish two wins out of the first three races on the card.

The starting price was no mystery. The lightly raced four-year-old came into the race with only two previous starts under her belt, having been beaten by a combined total of just over seventeen lengths in those two outings which came 1195m and 1200m at Grafton and Ipswich respectively.

Another change of track and a first opportunity of soft going somehow did the trick.

Cornish quickly got Mychyna up to speed at the break, moving from fifth to fourth to third in the first 300m. She then was second halfway up the back stretch but went back to fourth when some speed went around her in the sweep to the home turn, but was still only a couple of lengths off the lead.

Cornish held her nerve, tracking the leaders to the turn. By that time Mychyna straightened, she had regained third spot and now had the two leaders Baronial ($4.80) and Chayse ‘N’ Menari ($8) firmly in her sights … but there was still the no small matter of having to make up a little over two lengths in the run home as the two leaders kicked again early in the straight.

Mychyna needed a few strides before starting to build momentum, but, when she did, she came at the leaders very quickly.

When Chayse ‘N’ Menari cried enough inside the final 150m, it had come down to a race in two between Baronial and Mychyna, but the latter quickly settled that fight in her own favour, outpunching Baronial with 100m left to run to edge away to win by a 0.80 length margin to claim the first win of her career.

$10 … $21 … any advance on $21?

You bet.

Jasmine Cornish wasn’t finished yet and she upped the ante on her long-priced winners when putting another spark underneath unsuspecting punters by partnering the $41 chance Sheza Firecracker to a clearcut victory in a Maiden Handicap over 1400m at the Sunshine Coast on April 7.

The Liam Birchley trained mare had been first-up in her previous start where she recorded an improved result when finishing third on the Sunshine Coast Poly Track over 1100m. (She had finished unplaced in all of her three career starts prior to that run).

Birchley was quick to push the distance test out to 1400m again. Two of her previous starts had been over the 1400m (once behind a subsequent Group 1 winner in the form of Gypsy Goddess) so Birchley clearly thought this distance would suit the mare.

Jumping from barrier fifteen wasn’t going to help much though, and Cornish had little option but to take Sheza Firecracker back from her wide gate, ultimately settling her in eleventh spot, just worse than midfield.

There was no improvement in Sheza Firecracker’s position at the halfway mark … nor was there any real shift at the home turn where Sheza Firecracker cornered all of six wide, still in eleventh place, still six to seven lengths off the action.

But then she started her run … a finishing effort that continued to build momentum all of the way down the straight as she started to pick off her rivals one by one.

By the 200m mark there were just four horses standing between Sheza Firecracker and victory. By the 100m, only one horse, the, $4.60 favourite Katdeel, remained in her way and Sheza Firecracker wasn’t in the mood to take a back seat to anyone now and she breezed past Katdeel and went on cheekily get the chocolates by a 1.30 length margin

As is so often the case with a long-priced winner, Sheza Firecracker didn’t just scrape in … she won like a good thing . … rounding off a great weekend for her talented, young rider.

More articles

Tikka Ready (top and bottom)
Tikka Ready (top and bottom)
Mychyna (top and bottom)
Mychyna (top and bottom)
... and not forgetting Cornish's cheer squad
... and not forgetting Cornish's cheer squad
... or those who are always there with a word of advice and encouragement 

Photos: Graham Potter
... or those who are always there with a word of advice and encouragement

Photos: Graham Potter
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