THE last thing anyone watching the Echuca races on Saturday expected to see was New York World running anywhere but last in the $20,000 Echuca Newsagency Handicap over 1200m — because at 20/1 no-one had backed him.
And as the horses were loaded into their gates the three-year-old gelding was last into its chute because the vet had called apprentice rider Campbell Rawiller aside so he could check the horse.
Also the last thing any trainer or owner wants to see after their horse has been given a start at a Saturday meeting.
So Craig Blackshaw must have had his heart in his mouth as he watched the vet really drag it out before giving his horse the OK.
But it got loaded and as the starter let them go, New York World ambled out of the gate – stone cold last.
Although it did eventually decide to start running and at last stamped its dominance on the field by moving into second last (mostly because Our Surfer Boy, the nag he supplanted, looked like he was paddling in rough seas and couldn’t catch a wave to save himself).
But even from there New York World garnered scant mention from the race caller and plugged away battling, it seemed to most, to avoid falling back into last place.
As they headed into the last bend New York World and Our Surfer Boy had been a model of consistency and seemed to have an unbreakable grip on second last and last.
When the field turned for home they were strung out across the track, with New York World the second last into the bend and swinging so wide he was running alongside the fence on the opposite side of the track.
Either way, his race looked run – and lost.
But Rawiller, having a genuine purple patch himself, already had the horse on the run.
With 200m to go he was still 15 lengths off the lead; inside the 150m he’d pulled that back to about 10 lengths and Rawiller suddenly looked as though he thought this might still be within reach.
Vigorously riding, and battling to keep the young horse balanced and focused, Rawiller put is head down as his horse started eating up the track at a prodigious rate.
The only thing missing was a crowd, which if any members thereof had noticed horse number 1 flying down the extreme outside of the straight, they would have been unable to resist the appeal of a true underdog undoing the more fancied field.
With just metres to the finish New York World caught the leaders and blew right by — and paid $19.90.
Clearly the last thing the race caller expected because he didn’t see him until New York World was about 50m from the line.
Blackshaw said watching the race on TV he could not understand what had gone wrong as the horse does much better when running on the speed.
‘‘If he’s back in the field early he just cracks it.
‘‘When Campbell finally got him going I actually thought he might have a chance of getting third but it was a great ride and they just kept on coming.
‘‘His dad Nash rode for us a fair bit and this youngster is going to be very good too,’’ he said.
‘‘I had a chat to New York’s owners and we might look at giving him a run in a 64 in town before he turns four and we will almost certainly go up to 1400m or a mile on the back of this run.’’
‘‘But we’ll give him a little rest after a first up run on a heavy track and see how he pulls up.’’