Feelings of frustration turned to ones of joy for jockey Shane Crosse, who celebrated the first Group One success of his career aboard Pretty Gorgeous in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.
Having been forced to miss the winning ride on Galileo Chrome in last month’s St Leger following a positive test for Covid-19 before travelling from Ireland, the 19-year-old enjoyed a deserved change of fortune thanks to the Joseph O’Brien-trained daughter of Lawman.
Though Crosse will now be dreaming of glory in next year’s 1000 Guineas back over course and distance aboard Pretty Gorgeous, he admits that watching Galileo Chrome triumph on Town Moor from the comfort of his own home was tough to take.
Crosse said: “Of course it hurt and I had a great partnership with the horse. To be sat at home on your own watching it on the television with no one around you was a bit of a head wrecker.
“I’m delighted the horse won though and for Tom (Marquand) who is a lovely guy. Hopefully I can look forward to him next year.
“This takes a lot of the edge off what happened. I suppose no one would wish it on their worst enemy, but I was the unfortunate one.
“Luckily there wasn’t a hair turned on me which was probably the main thing, but I missed out on the Leger. Hopefully there are more big days ahead and this has topped things off.
“She has loads of speed and I wouldn’t be going past the mile so hopefully that (1000 Guineas) is the aim.”
While the winning margin may have only been half a length, Crosse was confident that Pretty Gorgeous was always doing enough, despite not being totally at ease on the track.
He added: “Coming down the hill she probably didn’t handle it as well as most fillies do, but she is just so big and plenty green still.
“I found myself in a pocket between Ryan (Moore), but once I got down out of the dip and met the rising ground she just levelled off and she was very game. I think the best filly won.
“I felt I was there plenty soon and it is a lonely half-furlong there, but I felt if I wasn’t going to go when I did something might have flashed by. She had her ears back though and she was all over them.”
With racing continuing to take place behind closed doors, being greeted by near empty grandstands following such victories is now accepted as normal – but the moment was not lost on Crosse.
He said: “It’s unbelievable, it has just flashed by there. I can’t believe it has just happened.
“There is no crowd or atmosphere, but that doesn’t make a difference once you are on the horse’s back. I’m going to take it in like a normal day.”
To succeed at the highest level requires backing from the best, and Crosse is thankful to have exactly that from former Classic-winning rider turned trainer O’Brien.
He said: “Without Joseph and the team of horses we have I couldn’t do it. Especially this filly today as she has already given me a few great days and she has now just made this the biggest one of my life.
“She will be a three-year-old and her best days are ahead of her, I hope.”