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By Graham Potter | Sunday, March 19, 2023

Talk about following a value jockey.

In the last thirty days prior to getting the leg up onto the Jack Laing trained Gertanie in a Ratings band 0-58 Handicap over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast on March 19, Mark Du Plessis’s winners had included a win aboard Tappy’s Lad at a starting price of $14 as well as a victory aboard Crimson warning at odds of $15.

Those wins provided great enough value in itself for those who follow Du Plessis, but the accomplished hoop was about to take that ‘value return’ element to the next level when he took Gertanie out onto the Sunshine Coast track.

The mare would win at a starting price of ... would you believe ... $101.

The five-year-old daughter of Danerich had raced eleven times for two trainers (Jamee Cockram and Mick Bell) for two runner-up finishes before joining the Jack Laing stable where her form remained largely uninspiring in the five starts she had for her new stable leading into this contest.

Not that she had finished that far back, but four of those runs did come at non-tab country meetings (three at Woolamai and one at Nanango) which did raise a degree of doubt about her raising her game at provincial level.

She did step up to that provincial level in her last start prior to this contest, finishing seventh, 3.70 lengths behind Dream Entity over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast on March 3.

Interestingly enough, Gertanie was backed in from $61 to $31 on that occasion, which was the first time Du Plessis had ridden her.

Just how much could have been read into that betting move and Du Plessis electing to remain in the saddle here is more easily evaluated after the fact that it was at the time. As it was, punters roundly rejected those signs and totally neglected Gertanie in the betting to the extent that she started at those triple figure odds.

Certainly, some stars were aligning here though, as Gertanie only got into the race as the third emergency acceptor.

Du Plessis ensured everyone knew she was in the contest from the break as he took Gertanie into an immediate lead.

Rating his mount well, Du Plessis and Gertanie still held sway up front as the Laing trained runner brought the field into the home straight, although she had a line of horses stalking her at that stage with the concern them being that she might begin to feel the pressure ... but, instead, she just kept running.

The challenges came both to her inside and on her outside halfway up the straight, but Gertanie repelled those before having to deal with one last threat, that of the $4.20 chance Regal Conqueror, who emerged out of the pack late, but who was still half-a-length in arrears at the line.

Doing it at both ends was a performance that stands to the credit of both horse and rider and there was another cherry on the top with this result as it provided trainer Jack Laing with his first winner since establishing a stable base in Queensland.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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