JOHN HICKMOTT was beaming with pleasure when his son Robert prepared Green Moon to score in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup, and he got his own moment in the spotlight on the Flemington undercard on Thursday when he sent out Flying Skipper to cause a major boilover in the listed Spring Fashion Stakes.
The Murray Bridge trainer would surely have destroyed the dreams of quadrella punters when his gelding, which could only run fourth of 10 over 1300m at Morphetville last start, arrived late on the scene under the riding of Steven King to score at the battler's odds of $41 in the 1800m race, seeing off the $4.20 shot Scapolo by a short half head in a blanket finish.
Barely a length separated the first six home, but that didn't bother Hickmott senior, who put down his horse's defeat in Adelaide five days ago to the slow pace in that race.
''I said to Steven that if they run hard that will suit him better and he'll get home quick, and he rode him a treat.
''In 2003 we won [this race] with Pay Keys and then nine days later he won the Sandown Guineas and that's where we are going with this bloke.''
Steven Arnold is widely acknowledged as one of the sport's finest riders but the heavyweight jockey doesn't get as many rides as his talent would allow as he struggles to ride at the lower weights.
But he had a good day at Flemington, scoring a double in the final two races, winning the listed 1000m dash on General Truce and following up 40 minutes later in the 1600m handicap on Lord of Brazil, which defied his burden of 58 kilograms for a ¾-length win from Chile Express ($11).
The Ricky Maund-trained General Truce ($17) showed a fine turn of foot in the closing stages to mow down the Peter Moody/Luke Nolen runner and $4 favourite Golden Archer, also scoring by a ¾-length margin.
The horse carried 55 kilograms, which was a tip in itself, as Maund explained later.
''Steve doesn't ride 55 kilograms much but he was adamant that he was going to waste that bit extra and ride him because the horse is in good form.''
Arnold admitted he had to do it tough to get to that weight, but was happy he did so.
''This is the week where you do anything to ride a winner, so I knew it was a good, genuine chance.''
Earlier on the program the Robert Smerdon-trained three-year-old filly Shamal Wind created a big impression with her two-length win in the listed Icons of Heritage Stakes.
Mark Zahra had the winning ride on Shamal Wind, which started at $12 - perhaps not surprising as she had raced only once before, winning a maiden at Ballarat 12 days ago - but it was the manner of her victory rather than just the win itself which impressed as she showed a terrific turn of foot to burst clear of the field and assert her authority.
Smerdon said that she would now be spelled and kept to sprint distances in the autumn.