By Ray Hickson
Trainer John Thompson says his apprentice Blaike McDougall deserves any and all praise he receives for his winning treble at Randwick on Saturday.
Thompson falls into the tough but fair category as a boss and McDougall pushed his luck a bit during the week taking seven rides in the country on Friday and missing a couple of days work.
But the 23-year-old, who it’s fair to say is eager to find his place in Sydney, was rewarded with wins on Newtown Bluebag, Tip Top and the feature Maroubra Mile (1600m) on Dreamforce.
He stripped down to 51kg to ride the latter pair and shortly after dismounting from Dreamforce had to make a beeline for the jockeys room to rehydrate.
“I’ve been to the races before with three or four good rides and generally rode a winner and a few seconds but it’s good to get three,’’ he said.
“It probably should have been four, I was a bit stiff on Machinegun Jubs.
“Losing that last kilogram was hard. I can’t hear properly, my ears are going in and out. My hips are shot. But it was worth it.’’
It’d been a hard few days for McDougall who spent the bulk of Thursday night in hospital with his daughter Penelope then drove five hours to Port Macquarie for seven rides on Friday.
He arrived back in Sydney late and Thompson, who wasn’t happy he took the rides, gave him an easy Saturday morning.
“I was going all right until I went to Port Macquarie for seven rides,’’ McDougall said.
“On Thursday night I was at the hospital with my little girl, I didn’t go to work on Friday. I drove to Port on my own and rode a winner but that didn’t make the drive back any easier.’’
It’s safe to say McDougall will be making the most of his Sunday with his daughter and partner Danielle reflecting on a red-letter day and letting his body recover.
Thompson said his winning ride on Dreamforce, where he refused to engage in a speed battle with leader Coolring, was an example of what he can do when given the opportunity.
Dreamforce hit the lead at the top of the straight and had half a length to spare on the fast finishing Morton’s Fork with McDougall saying he bottomed out in the last 50m.
“Blaike has been riding him very well and it was a smart ride,’’ Thompson said.
“He didn’t fall into getting into a speed battle.
Dreamforce wins the Maroubra Mile at Randwick on Saturday
“When an apprentice like him gets a better book they still have to come out and perform. He’s ridden pretty well today. All the races I’ve watched he’s given them their chance.”
Whether Dreamforce races on this preparation, Saturday’s win was his third from his past four starts, remains to be seen but there’s a long range plan to tackle the Group 2 Villiers Stakes in December.
Thompson said he hopes McDougall will take some encouragement from his first Saturday treble.
“He’s a good kid and he can ride. He gets down on himself but there’s nothing like a winner to cheer anyone up,’’ he said.
“I just said keep your head down and bum up and keep quiet and do your best.’’