A long last-stride lunge at the line ensured Nordic Symphony ($41) shared victory with Orcein ($12) at Flemington on ANZAC Day, providing a portion of her ownership group with an incredibly sentimental victory.
Nordic Symphony dead-heated for first in the $135,000 FLT LT Peter Armytage Handicap (1710m), a three-year-old race named in honour of the late VRC chairman who led the club between 1986 and 1991.
Armytage participated in World War II as a flight lieutenant where he was at one stage held as a prisoner of war. He returned to Australia at the end of the war.
In 1990, Armytage was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of his service to horse racing which included the acquisition of radio station 3UZ (these days known as RSN) and the commissioning of the Phar Lap statue at Flemington.
Nordic Symphony had won just one of her four starts before trainer Symon Wilde obligingly ran the daughter of Glass Harmonium in the race.
“We put her in this race for one of my mates who races the horse with us (Nick Armytage), the race is named after his grandfather,” Wilde explained.
“It wasn’t the race that I picked but they dearly wanted to run in it and it’s a bit of a fairytale for them.”
Nordic Symphony holds an entry from the $500,000 G1 Schweppes Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville on May 4.
“Her (handicap) rating might lift enough to now get into that,” Wilde said.
As for the other dead-heater, the Chris Waller-trained Orcein, sharing victory may mark a significant turning point in his career.
Blinkers were reapplied at the expense of winkers and the Snitzel gelding raced truly as several of his rivals, including stablemate Zalatte ($4.60 favourite) experienced misfortune when trying to gain clear running in the straight.
“He’s been a very frustrating horse of late, he’s shown us a lot of ability early on in his career but he’s just done a few things wrong – over raced at times and not put in,” said Waller’s stable representative Jo Taylor.
“We’ve played around with his headgear a little bit and today we’ve seemed to have struck the right chord.”
Nordic Symphony and Beau Mertins with Orcein and Michael Dee inside, picture Quentinjlang.com