Miki Nakao wasn’t George Woodward’s first choice jockey to ride Loud Enough in Monday’s Inverell Cup but after the apprentice steered the gelding to a tight win, the Walcha trainer was glad she was in the saddle.
“[She’s] number one. She was good,” Woodward said post-race.
“She done what I told her to and you can’t ask for anything more.”
A number of other jockeys weren’t able to make it down to 54 kilograms to ride Loud Enough so Nakao picked up the phone to ask Woodward for the ride.
“This was her first time [riding for Woodward],” the Walcha trainer said.
“When they couldn't make the weight she rung me up and I said ‘love, if you can make the weight – I’ll put you on.”
Nakao did just that and then put in a peach of a ride to secure the win by a nose over Carry On Jake.
Down the straight, Nakao peeled off the rail to chase Carry On Jake who had hit the front with Allan Chau in the saddle.
Loud Enough kept eating into the margin to just pip Carry On Jake with Mishani Honcho over a length back in third.
It was the gelding’s third run – for two wins and a third – for Woodward since bringing him to Walcha from Sydney.
“He’s coming up, he’s going to be a good horse,” Woodward said.
“He was a bit rogue when I got him but he’s good now, he’s settled down. He loves the country, loves Walcha. I got him away from the city and it helped him a lot.”
Woodward is now aiming Loud Enough for the Walcha Cup in early February.
It’s a race Woodward is yet to win.
“I’ve won the big maiden but not the Walcha Cup – I’d like to,” he said.
Woodward rates Loud Enough as one of his best chances to win the cup.
“Yeah, I think so. He knows the track which helps a lot,” he said.