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By Graham Potter | Saturday, December 17, 2022

It was a nice race to win ... a $105 000 Open Quality Handicap over 1815m which was run and won at Eagle Farm on December 17 ... a race in which the Barry Baldwin trained Gave Us Up defied his double figure odds ($12) to score by just under half-a-length, doing enough to withstand late pressure from the $9 Couldn’t Refuse over the closing stages.

Already a six-time winner coming into the race, Gave Us Up was basically taking on his seventh start in this latest preparation ... there were a couple of brief freshen-ups in-between some of those runs ... as he searched to find the kind of form that saw him post back-to-back wins in March and April in his last two runs before an extended spell which took him away from racing for a full four-and-a-half months between April 30 and September 10.

In his previous start, just a week before he posted this win, Gave Us Up had recorded his best result this time in, finishing fifth, only two lengths off the winner over 1600m.

Mark Du Plessis was the rider on that occasion and the experienced jockey stayed aboard Gave Us Up with the son of Spill The Beans now on a seven day back-up and stepping up the distance test from 1600m to 1815m.

Jumping from a number eight barrier draw in a field of ten, Du Plessis eased Gave Us Up forward from the break and the Baldwin trained runner was able to find a place that would give him the run of the race as he settled in a close-up second place in the running, sitting just outside the early leader Tears Of Love ($12).

These two leaders held their positions all of the way down the back stretch and through the sweep to the home turn where they straightened with just under a length between them.

Gave Us Up was quick to apply pressure to Tears Of Love, but the latter kept finding in the first half of the straight making it a long chase for Gave Us Up, but, ever so gradually, Gave Us up did reel in the long time leader to get to the head of affairs with 150m left to run.

By now though, another very real danger had emerged in the form of Couldn’t Refuse, who had saved ground early before switching wider on straightening. Couldn’t Refuse was now starting to make up ground with meaning.

Fair to say, just inside the 100m mark it looked like Couldn’t Refuse had the momentum and would go right past Gave Us Up but, under a really determined ride, Gave us Up responded to Du Plessis strong handling and found the extra required to peg back Couldn’t Refuse in a rousing finish which saw Gave Us Up prevail by the narrowest of margins.

It was a really tough win as Gave Us Up had to be committed at the start to find a favourable position and then he had to show plenty of fight in the finish ... doing it at both ends as they say ... but the five-year-old was up to that task and, working in harmony with Du Plessis, he deservedly claimed an outstanding result.

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Photos: Darren Winningham
Photos: Darren Winningham
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