This is the race that gave the whole game away.
You might remember it.
17 November 2018.
A BM76 over 1100 metres at Rosehill.
Josh Parr rides the $1.50 favourite Roheryn.
He puts it way out the back, beyond the car park, in an impossible position twelve lengths off the leader.
That leader is Chess Star.
Trained by Gai Waterhouse, ridden by guess who?
Chess Star comes into the race off good form, but it first up for eight months, and Roheryn is rock hard fit and flying.
Hyeronimus takes Chess Star to the front, and crawls them.
They run slower than 12 second per furlong splits for the first 500 metres, a snails crawl over this short distance, yet no other jockey comes anywhere near him or takes him on.
Brenton Avdulla makes sure of it.
Avdulla is riding an $18 shot named Heart Conquered, makes sure of it.
He kicks it out of the barriers and it looks like going to the lead, but all the while Brenton Avdulla is looking over his shoulder to the inside.
Avdulla is not looking to see if he has a clear length a half gap to cross over – he’s looking for Chess Star.
He spot him, and hits the brakes hard.
Chess Star scoots up his inside to the lead.
Avdulla almost strangles Heart Conquered to restrain it, and puts it outside the leader at its hind quarters.
From there he is able to control the pace of the race.
It is Avdulla that allows Hyeronimus to get away with murder up front, and it’s noesurprise, for he is in the know about what’s going on, and he’s there to play the role of wingman, and to act as a stopper to make sure nothing else comes around.
He does it well too.
Somewhat oddly, the race caller Darren Flindell tells listeners that they are sizzling up front, and that Chess Star has had to burn through to get to the lead, but blind Freddie can see that this is not the case, and that they are in fact walking.
Flindell is a very experienced race caller, and having spent a decade calling them in the flat, dry track jurisdiction of Hong Kong, he is usually an expert judge of pace.
Make of that what you will.
Hyeronimus starts to rev up on the turn.
Avdulla slides with him, but makes no attempt to match Chess Star and just sits swinging against Heart Conquered until the 250 metre mark, by which time Chess Star has gone through the gears and hit top, and is starting to steam away.
Brenton Avdulla then, at the 250, gets desperate, or makes it look like he is anyway, but whether by accident or design – I know which way I’m betting – Heart Conquered ducks into the rail behind Chess Star, and he has to stop riding and straighten it.
The bird flies.
Hyeronimus kicks two lengths in front while Avdulla’s horse is running in, and wins by that margin.
Roheryn flies down the outside to blouse Heart Conquered for second.
Chess Star runs his final 600 metres in 33.52 seconds.
The $1.50 favourite has spotted him more than 8 lengths at the top of the straight, and run him down to 2.3.
Roheryn’spersonal split for the last six is somewhere around 32.50 seconds, Winx style time. He is a tragedy beaten.
After the race the Stewards haul Roheryn’s jockey Josh Parr into the room, and they later question his jockey manager John Walter too.
Walter has tipped Chess Star to the clients of his betting service that morning, even though his own rider is on the 2’s on fave.
The inquiry is adjourned as investigations take place, and more information is sought.
When it resumes, to the surprise of many, Parr escapes without penalty or sanction.
Christmas comes and goes, and it doesn’t snow.
The snow starts a couple of months later, in the first weeks of what Americans call the Fall.
In early March Sally Snow is called into the Stewards room, and directed to hand over her phone.
She refuses, and the Stewards warn her off all racetracks until she changes her mind and agrees to cooperate with them.
Snow is Garry Clarke’s daughter: there is no hope of that.
Snow resigns from Tabcorp, and the snow starts to fall harder and harder, and despite a lull in the blizzard during the coronavirus season, it never stops.
And now a hard rain is a gonna fall, and a lot of people are going to fall with it.
It all dates back to the Roheryn race.
Don’t you worry about that.