INTERNATIONAL racing giant Sheikh Mohammed took out yesterday’s opener on Albury Gold Cup day as expected.
Maiden three-year-old Auguste, by Exceed and Excel, claimed the Brian White handicap over 1175 metres for the globally renowned Darley stable.
The gelding, which paid just $1.40 for the win, was followed to the line by Atlanta Rock and All On Red.
Jockey Christian Reith, who copped a luckless ride on Darley stablemate Peck in the feature race, was rapt to start his day in promising fashion.
But his luck ended there.
The only shock in the opening race was the final margin, with Auguste just edging out his competition by half a length.
“The horse probably runs better if it has a bunny to follow,” Reith said.
“The others dropped off pretty quick on the home corner and so we got exposed way too early.
“So it did well to kick back and win.”
Reith said there was no doubt the track, which was rated a heavy (8) all day, was affected by Thursday’s wild weather.
“Definitely,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate but they did the best job they could to repair it.”