Hungarian horse breaks lengthy drought in the Gosford Cup

Jay Ford has fittingly played a starring role at the Takeover Target Stakes meeting at Gosford, capturing one of the three feature races on the stand-alone metropolitan program aboard outsider Esti Feny.

The regular rider of Takeover Target – who in 2004 won the race subsequently named in his honour when it was known as the Pacesetter Stakes – Ford was to the fore in the Listed Gosford Gold Cup (2100m) on Saturday, guiding Esti Feny to his first win in Australia.

The former Hungarian galloper hadn’t tasted success since taking out the St Leger in Budapest in October 2018, but he had shown ability since his arrival in Australia and was Group 3 placed during last year’s winter carnival in Brisbane.

“He’s always been a horse we’ve had a lot of time for,” trainer Matt Smith said.

“He’s just had a lot of interrupted preparations and he probably paraded as good as I’ve seen him today.

“He’s had plenty of injuries and things. I’m lucky I’ve got a good group of patient owners who have stuck with the horse.”

Ford rode Esti Feny at his first start in Australia in 2020 and only reunited with the gelding at his last run at Hawkesbury when he closed late from back in the field.

Interestingly, the horse he finished behind at Hawksbury was Palmetto , who a race earlier at Gosford had taken out the $500,000 The Coast (1600m).

Ford adopted the same tactics on Esti Feny as he did at Hawkesbury, dropping the eight-year-old out the back in the Gosford Cup and saving his energy for the finish.

“We shut him down the other day and he was really good late. I just wanted to do the same thing again today,” Ford said.

“No-one wants to go near the fence so we were able to ride him quiet early, switch him off.

“He still wanted to tug a bit, but I was just pinching ground all the way and got to the top of the straight coming off the leaders’ backs and I hadn’t even asked him (to go).”

Esti Feny ($31) burst between runners halfway up the straight and shot clear to score by 1-1/2 lengths over Navajo Peak ($4.20 fav) with Bois D’Argent ($6) third.

It was Ford’s second win in the Gosford Gold Cup which he last claimed aboard Bush Honey for the late Guy Walter in 2004.

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