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By Graham Potter | Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Sergeant Silva, who had shown good early promise before going off the boil, scored an overdue win in the hands of Jasmine Cornish when he saluted in a Class 3 Handicap over 2200m at the Sunshine Coast on September 28.

The Robert Heathcote trained son of Top Echelon won three-in-a-row in a sizzling run of form between August 8 and September 4, 2021 … but he was not as competitive when he returned from a spell, having four runs in his next preparation without finishing in the placings.

After a further seven months break from race action between December 21, 2021 and July 31, 2022, Sergeant Silva resumed and, once again he never flattered in his first three starts back, again finding to find a place in any of those contests.

In his defence, Sergeant Silva was carrying a fair amount of weight in all of those three starts (58kg, 57kg and 59kg) and they were over distances short of his best (1400m, 1350m and 1630m) as he eased his way back into race fitness … and when Heathcote elected to put the 3kg claiming Jasmine Cornish on Sergeant Silve for the first time and stepped up the distance test … in a BM68 Handicap over 2040m at Doomben … Sergeant Silva responded positively to the weight relief (now down to 52kg with the claim) and extra ground by filling third place, just 1.50 lengths behind the Chris Waller trained Otyrar, who would frank that form by going on to win again next time out.

That run set up the Sunshine Coast assignment nicely enough for Sergeant Silva … enough for him to start as the $3 favourite.

Cornish jumped Sergeant Silva best of all, but she let the speed go in the early part, happy to settle in fifth place on the rail some five lengths off the lead.

That deficit became as much as seven lengths when Chasing Jackley ($19) scorched away at the head of affairs in the back straight, but when Cornish started to push Sergeant Silve forward at the 650m in the sweep to the home turn, the grey made up ground quickly, to the point where he cornered in fourth place, now less than a length off the lead … but in danger of having their his path to victory blocked as Cormish lined up a tight gap inbetween runners which threatened to close.

Both horse and rider had to be brave … and they were, both playing their part as Cornish encouraged Sergeant Silva into the gap and the horse relished the challenge … elbowing his way through into clear galloping room.

The slight delay in getting past those runners though, did mean that the $21 outsider Ripcord had got first run on on Sergeant Silva and Ripcord now became Sergeant Silva’s target, but he was kicking on strongly down the centre of the track.

Again, Sergeant Silva was up for the fight, slowly reeling in Ripcord, before gaining a narrow lead with 100m left to run.

But it was not over yet.

Cornish had to rally Sergeant Silva once again over the concluding stages as Ripcord threatened to come back at the Heathcote trained runner, while the $4.40 favourite Sacramento Joe was now also closing up ground quickly from behind … but Sergeant Silva was just not going to be denied and he duly saluted when holding a 0.40 length winning margin at the line … in what had been a fine display of horse and rider working in unison to get the job done.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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