Le tandem Allet-Holland s’est de nouveau retrouvé dans le box des vainqueurs samedi dernier, et ce pour la troisième semaine consécutive. Si le grand favori Catwalk Model n’a pas été à la hauteur des espérances, Hot Rocket ne s’est, lui, pas fait prier pour enregistrer son premier succès de la saison et permettre par la même occasion à son entraîneur de ramener son 18e gagnant cette année.
L’alezan avait pourtant été l’auteur d’une prestation remarquée à sa dernière incursion mais il ne s’était cette fois pas attiré la faveur des parieurs, surtout face à The Real Hero qui recevait six kilos de lui. Et cette victoire, c’est avec un plaisir particulier que le Britannique l’a vécue, comme il nous l’a rappelé samedi dernier. « I’m very pleased for Hot Rocket considering that we both fell down 9-10 weeks ago. He hurt his shoulder and I broke my rib and collar bone so to come back and win on him during the same season is very nice ».
Le fait de porter à nouveau 62 kgs sur le dos en a sûrement fait tiquer plus d’un mais notre interlocuteur nous a avoué n’en avoir pas fait grand cas. « Sunil Bhundoo rode him with a big weight last time and it was an eye-catching run. Everybody saw that and I’m surprised he was not that fancied today. But we did and thought he’d run a good race. On paper, The Real Hero was obviously the horse to beat. I thought however that the 1500m was just out of his compass and it proved to be correct as I just moved him down in the last 100m. »
L’issue paraîssait pourtant très incertaine pour l’alezan quand il aborda la dernière ligne droite parmi les derniers mais Hot Rocket sortit une puissante accélération pour venir reprendre le favori, un choix tactique voulu si l’on se fie aux dires de son cavalier. « To be honest, I just had to come off Rye’s heels because he was on the fence. When you’ve got a big weight on, you have to save ground and I did that all the way round but halfway round the turn, I had to give Rye up or else I would have been too far back. I went between horses and set him off early but I knew he’d come home for me because he came on well the last time with Bhundoo ».
« I shoud be given the benefit of the doubt… »
La réussite ne fut cependant pas au rendez-vous avec Catwalk Model dans l’épreuve précédente, le favori manquant de punch dans la ligne d’arrivée.  « We’re scratching our heads a bit on this one. He was travelling well but I was a bit further back from where I wanted to be. He’s not the quickest out of the gates but even he had been closer today, I don’t think he would have won because it was a very workman-like fourth. I gave him 7-8 smacks in the final straight and he was labouring in the last 200m. I feared that whatever I did would not make him finish any closer and that’s when Mark Neisius (NDLR : Double Dash) picked me on the line. But the angle is really funny here because it will always look like the inside horse has won even if it’s the other way round and I just pointed that out. If there was not any reasonable doubt that my horse would have finished third, I shoud be given the benefit of the doubt and that’s what the stewards did ».
De ses autres montes, The Dazzler pense que le manque de rythme a définitivement eu raison des chances de Blue Lord sur un parcours un peu juste pour ses réels aptitudes. Dunraven continue de décevoir son entourage tandis que Earthwind’nfire ne doit pas être jugé sur sa course vu qu’il avait été sauvé in extremis après avoir contracté une fièvre. Il accusait d’ailleurs une perte de 16 kilos sur la balance samedi dernier. Quant à Love Struck, le lauréat de l’édition 2014 de la Coupe d’Or, il ne fut jamais en mesure de défendre correctement ses chances et le Britannique s’en est expliqué.
« Love Struck run with the choke out and you just can’t do that in a Group 1. He was a bit keen and I popped him in behind Kremlin Captain but he just did not drop his head. When he did, he was halfway down the hill with half the race gone and you just can’t do that in such a race. I told this to Patrick Merven and he totally agreed with me ». Et quid de ses impressions sur le coup d’arrêt de Kremlin Captain ainsi que de la prestation de One Cool Dude ?
« On the book, Kremlin Captain had a lot to find but he was entitled to be favorite because he won 8 races straight and not many horses do that. I thought he ran well in such a tough race. He finished a couple of lengths from the winner but he’s lost nothing in my book. As for the winner, I thought Rye gave him an excellent ride. Rye has produced some rides this year that I think would bode well anywhere else in the world. He rides a good race, he does not panic and rides with a long rein. It’s the fourth time he wins the Gold Cup so that’s a testament of his credentials ».