Battu par 6,25L lors de la cinquième journée puis vainqueur par 4,65L deux semaines plus tard – soit une progression de presque onze longueurs ! – la victoire de Kapiti Coast, a certes, fait tiquer beaucoup de monde samedi dernier. Les réactions, sur les réseaux sociaux notamment, ont d’ailleurs fusé de part et d’autres après les convocations de Vincent Allet et Darryl Holland par les Racing Stewards afin de s’expliquer sur ce véritable turnaround de la part de leur coursier. Alors que l’enquête avait été ajournée à mardi matin, la montagne a finalement accouché d’une souris, les protagonistes étant avertis par le board des commissaires que toutes les futures montes de cet entraînement ne devraient dorénavant plus leave aucun room for query.
Darryl Holland, que nous avons rencontré samedi après-midi à sa sortie de la jockey’s room, n’a pas cherché à éviter la presse et s’est bienveillamment prêté au jeu des questions-réponses. Appelé à expliquer la véritable métamorphose de son coursier par rapport à sa sortie précédente, le jockey britannique a essayé de trouver un début de réponse face aux nombreuses interrogations des turfistes.  « Kapiti Coast indeed won very well and it was a big turnaround. Rightly so, the racing stewards inquired into the improved performance. I think Stephane is a very good steward and he’s got every right to ask questions when the horse won very well. But Kapiti Coast is a difficult horse. He had all the gear on today, he had a citation bit, a noseband and a dropped noseband on, so I really had a lot of assistance today plus it was a 1365m. He clearly ran well in the form book on that distance for everybody to see ».
Le changement dans le racing pattern de Kapiti Coast a été clairement mis à l’index cette fois, mais notre interlocuteur est d’avis que les circonstances de course étaient différentes. « The conditions helped Kapiti Coast as well as the change of gear on his mouth which was in the race form and time form for everybody to see. Today, I took him to the outside and he followed better because the ground was better there. I did not have to fight him and that was the difference. He still did not jump very well, he still had two horses behind him at the winning post and then he started to pull a bit. When I showed him a bit of daylight, he settled a lot better. It was a 1365m as well and there was a big difference in the going. A lot of horses ran very disappointingly today because of the ground. Normally, only three lengths separate the horses in Mauritius but today it was close to ten lengths from last to first, so things can transpire like that sometimes ».
« I’ve come to Mauritius as a role model »
Après une telle démonstration, il ne fait aucune doute que la prochaine sortie de Kapiti Coast sera scrutée sous tous les angles. « With the way he’s won today, it’s obvious that he’s going up in class but we’ll see. But again, I don’t know which Kapiti Coast will turn up on his next race. He’s an unpredictable horse, he’s always been like that. He’s good in the morning but sometimes he wants to run away. I don’t ride him in the morning because I can’t hold him. Bussunt or the other fellow (NDLR : Sunil Bhundoo) get on better with him. It’s just the way it is. I’m here to do a job and ride every horse the best I can and that’s what I’m trying to do », nous a confié le britannique.
Le first jockey de Vincent Allet est bien au courant des critiques à son égard suite à « l’affaire Kapiti Coast » mais il a tenu à rassurer tous les turfistes quant à la rigueur qu’il s’impose personnellement. « I’ve ridden all around the world for 25 years and I can categorically say that everyone of my horses tries its best. I’ve come to Mauritius as a role model for other jockeys but again Stéphane is a good steward, there’s no doubt about that. He has the right to ask questions, it’s his job and the public want to know as well. We’re all human beings, we do not always get it right. We try to do our best for our horses to make they run the best races. As a professional jockey who’s been in the game with a lot of experience, we sometimes do not get it right but on this occasion I don’t think we did a lot wrong ».