Après avoir collectionné les accessits cette saison – six depuis le début de l’année – Maestro’s Salute a finalement retrouvé le box des vainqueurs, et ce, presque une année après sa dernière victoire le 29 novembre dernier. Ce nouveau succès, le premier qu’il connaît depuis qu’il a rejoint l’entraînement Allet, vient ainsi confirmer la bonne dynamique de cette formation depuis le retour aux affaires de Darryl Holland, qui signe par la même occasion sa 11e victoire de la saison.
A force d’échouer tout proche du but à chaque fois, les propriétaires de Maestro’s Salute ne savaient plus à quel saint se vouer, mais il semblerait que leur décision de confier leur poulain à Vincent Allet a porté ses fruits puisque l’alezan a retrouvé la winner’s enclosure à l’issue de sa deuxième tentative sous ses nouvelles couleurs. Impérial avec Streetbouncer lors de la 28e journée, Darryl Holland a, une fois de plus, dû sortir les grands moyens pour faire triompher sa monture au terme d’une course savamment orchestrée.
« I don’t seem to win anything by too far these days », nous confiait avec un brin d’humour le Britannique à sa sortie de la jockey’s room samedi dernier. « But we’re on the right side of the post and that’s the main thing. It’s been quite a master plan from Vincent with this horse. Maestro’s Salute had not been long in our yard since his transfer from Jean-Michel Henry stable but we admittedly knew that he was a decent horse and were very pleased to have him with us. We did not really know his quirks and stuff like that but his work on Tuesday was magnificent. We thought he’d win today and he duly did. But he was brave too, he stuck his head out till the post ».
Maestro’s Salute s’était pourtant montré hésitant à l’ouverture des boîtes ces derniers temps, mais Darryl Holland s’est assuré d’une belle mise en route avant de résister au retour de Nothing Compares dans la ligne droite. « He was fighting to get a good start over 1365m but he was drawn one and he hit it sweet. Just as the gate opened, he had his nose on it and he got a good attack from there on. I believe that was the difference. You always fear when you see a Rousset horse on your boots though and you have to keep pushing till the end. That’s what I did. I had my head down but I knew I had won it. My horse was very brave and again, it was a master plan from Vincent », nous a rappelé notre interlocuteur.
Le style peut toutefois paraître peu académique mais Darryl Holland nous a apporté une précision. « I did not want to go 1365m on bad ground. When you’re a frontrunner, you are in control of the race. Around the back, where the horses dig in because it’s downhill, it was worse there so I opted to stay out. But then I came back in on the turn because I did not want to lose ground, it was up to the other horses to do that. It was intentional and it worked. Maestro’s Salute is obviously quite a big horse and that’s the main reason I stayed out wide down the back straight but that definitely won me the race in my opinion ».
« You always fear when you see a Rousset horse on your boots »
L’occasion paraîssait pourtant belle de doubler la mise avec Kapiti Coast mais le bai brun ne s’est malheureusement pas montré à la hauteur, se contentant d’une modeste quatrième place à l’arrivée. « Kapiti Coast is a just another quirky horse. I keep saying that you never know which Kapiti Coast will turn up. One day, he can be really smart and win by three-and-a-half lengths and the next time he just pulls too hard. That’s exactly what he did today. The winner controlled the race in front and I had to make some sort of a move. He was three-wide unfortunately and that was the end of his race », a déploré son cavalier.
Le fait d’aligner Isipho avec 62 kgs sur le dos a fait sourciller plus d’un samedi dernier mais il semblerait que ce soit le manque d’épreuves adéquates pour l’alezan qui ait motivé cette décision de l’entraînement Allet. « You know, you’ve got to run the horses somewhere and that’s the thing. He’s won one race with the boy (NDLR : Alvinio Roy) carrying very low weight and it’s been difficult for him. Today I got stuck three wide. I knew Mo Ichi Do would be going in front and I wanted to slot in behind him but Imran Chisty (Alberts Day) was aware of that and he just kept me out. That’s racing ».  
Pierneef, qui en était seulement à sa deuxième participation cette année, n’a pas été gâté avec le terrain mou mais il n’a pas encore dit son dernier mot si l’on se fie aux dires de son jockey. « I thought Pierneef ran quite well. I’ve not lost faith in this horse. Today, when I looked at the weather forecast, it was supposed to be raining around 2.30 p.m and I was really hoping it would not come. But it did and Pierneef got stuck in the mud. He’s a lightly framed horse as you might have seen in the paddock and he’s had a lot of injuries. Vincent has patched him up good though. I think we must draw a line on today’s race. He’s a good horse and he will come back ».
Le manque de rythme aura, lui, eut le meilleur des chances de Rasheed. « I was always worried about pace but the thing with Rasheed is that you have to drop him at the back because he can be really keen when he races handy. And then the race came on in earnest at the 700m. It’s always difficult in that situation because you have to quicken twice and he simply can’t do that ». Quant à Parkwood, notre interlocuteur n’aura qu’un seul mot à son sujet : ungenuine.