GYMPIE trainer Barry Gill was riding high at the weekend as apprentice jockey Kayla Cross guided Final Crunch to victory in the 1000m Sommer’s Fuel Supplies Pty Ltd Open Handicap at Coulbould Park.
The Gill trained Final Crunch ($6.20) led from the beginning and managed to fend off a late challenge from race favourite Cattleman ($2.80) to clinch the win.
Gill was full of praise for his emerging apprentice, on the back of Final Crunch winning four races from his last six outings, describing the race as “near perfect”.
“They were the instructions (to lead from the front),” he said to Sunshine Coast media.
“They let him get away easy early, then he had a big finish. He was well ridden.”
Bagging the $12,000 in prize money from the race now takes Final Crunch’s career winnings to a notch over $100,000.
Cross executed Gill’s instructions with absolute ease on the Sunshine Coast race track, proving to punters she is a talent worth keeping an eye on for the future.
The Gill trained gelding, leading in the final run home, was sitting on the outside as Cattleman and third placegetter She’s All Greek ($9.40) attempted a late charge to steal first place.
But Cross, with nerves of steel, held her line to continue a winning relationship with Final Crunch. In her last five races with the racehorse, Cross has won four.
With such impressive form, Gill, meanwhile, has shelved plans to rest Final Crunch with at least one more outing planned.
“That’s his 14th run this time out,” he said.
“We’ll just see how he pulls up the next couple of days and we’ll go from there.
“I’m tempted to keep going.”