Pink tickles the boys in Ruby
By Jonny Turner
Tickle Me Pink continued her incredible fightback from a debilitating early season illness by winning the 3YO Ruby at the Harness Jewels.
But it did not come before the Addington siren sounded and trainer-driver Tony Herlihy had to argue his case to help the filly keep the Group 1 title.
Herlihy’s sulky stay touched the off side of Joshua Dickie’s cart when Tickle Me Pink and Tricky Ric fought out the finish of the race.
An enquiry in to the incident was dismissed when Dickie opted not to protest and Tickle Me Pink kept her unbeaten record for the season intact.
“We did touch stays, but they only tapped, it has to be more than that for them to take a race off you,” Herlihy said.
Herlihy cut his usual composed figure as he gently urged Tickle Me Pink to the post.
The master driver said he felt the filly had the runner-up covered.
“She felt like she had them covered and being a filly you don’t like to hurt them,” Herlihy said.
“When the other horse came up beside her, she kicked again.”
Tickle Me Pink’s win has put Herlihy in a slightly tricky spot.
Beating New Zealand’s best colts and geldings for the second time meant the filly deserves a shot at the Breeders Crown Series.
However, Tickle Me Pink, has done so much in a short space of time, the trainer-driver will consider whether a trip to Australia is too much to ask of the three-year-old.
“She has done so much in five weeks that I would like to give her a break.”
“I will have to have a word with the owners and decide from there.”
Making that decision more complicated is that it was on her Breeders Crown trip last year that Tickle Me Pink fell ill.
Saturday’s win continued the Muscle Hill filly’s incredible recovery from that.
“You hope they are going to come back as good as they were,” Herlihy said.
“That first up run really surprised me when she sat parked.
“She has got that bit of class, there is something about her.”
Tickle Me Pink held out Tricky Ric by a head at the finish.
Gil Favour ran a big race for third, one and three quarter lengths away.
Race favourite Enhance Your Calm did his chips shortly after the start, but staged a big recovery for fifth.