Comeback jockey Lisa Cropp and apprentice Jack Hill dominated Saturday’s metropolitan meeting at Betfair Park (Sandown) landing five of the eight winners between them.
Cropp is the multiple New Zealand premiership-winning jockey who is rebuilding her career in Victoria after completing a nine month disqualification in her homeland.
On Saturday she heralded her arrival as a serious force in Melbourne’s riding ranks with a stunning treble that reminded punters why she was able to pilot 197 winners in one season alone back in 2004-05.
The 38-year-old displayed her trademark strength and vigor to lift the Robbie Laing-trained pair Grand Britannia and Maquina to impressive victories that book-ended the meeting.
The middle leg of her treble came with a runaway five length victory by the Mike Moroney-trained Syndrome in the $70,000 Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1800m).
The hat trick completed a massive 24 hours for Cropp who was victorious at Mornington on Friday afternoon before celebrating the first Moonee Valley winner of her career later that evening.
Hill’s double, the second of his career in metropolitan Melbourne, was full of class.
The 3kg apprentice produced a centimetre perfect front-running ride on the Ciaron Maher-trained Riveted to down hot favourite Overtake in the $70,000 Mirenesse Handicap (1500m).
But it was his ride on the Lloyd Williams-owned, Robert Hickmott-trained Kiwi import Irel that made onlookers sit up and take notice.
The 20-year-old took the initiative and caught his rivals napping in the $70,000 Patinack Farm Handicap (2400m) whipping Irel from last to first in the twinkling of an eye 800 metres from home.
After skipping to a nice lead off the corner, Irel, under hard riding from Hill, withstood the challenge of favourite Robdon Flyer who loomed ominously over the concluding stages.
“The other horse was going to beat me three times up the straight,” Hill said. “But my bloke just fought back and was too tough.”
“I spoke to Mr Williams last night and he asked me to ride the horse quietly and take off at the 600-metre mark,” the talented jockey explained.
“But they were going too slow so I got going early….sometimes as a jockey you need to show some initiative and it paid off.”
Steven King, Michael Rodd and Glen Boss were the other hoops to salute, Rodd reuniting with gallant grey Jungle Ruler for their second victory – over three-and-a-half years since the first.