Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Smart mare Mandy Joan, a $12.80 chance, appeared to face an impossible task when she was hemmed in on the pegs in seventh position with 400m to travel in the 2130m Battle Of The Codes For Telethon Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
But star reinsman Aiden de Campo produced a typical patient and skilful drive as he eased Mandy Joan off the pegs 300m from home and then weaved inside and outside of runners before charging home to hit the front in the final stages to beat Jaspervellabeach ($11) by a half-length, with $51 outsider Pierre Whitby charging home from the rear with a sizzling late six-wide burst to finish an eye-catching third.
“I was getting held up, but I knew if she got the splits, she would run home pretty good,” said de Campo. “I just had to wait a little bit.
“Mandy Joan probably wasn’t at her best tonight, but she definitely improved on what she did the previous week (when ninth behind Wainui Creek). She will keep ticking over, leading up to the big races for mares at the end of the year.”
Mandy Joan, a five-year-old by Art Major, was bred and is owned by Steve Johnson, and she has earned $159,944 from 13 wins and 12 placings from 49 starts.