De Gouveia says ‘anything goes’
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DURBAN - Diego De Gouveia had a Grade 1 double at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday with the Stuart Pettigrew-trained Anything Goes and the Candice Dawson-trained Sentbydestiny, both bred by Varsfontein Stud, and said he owed his current progressive profile to Pettigrew.
"He has helped me a helluva lot,” said De Gouveia. “He has helped fine tune my riding especially in being patient and waiting for the false rail and he has stuck with me through bad rides and good rides, he has been really loyal."
De Gouveia said the unbeaten Var filly Anything Goes was undoubtedly the best horse had ever ridden in a race and elaborated, "It's not just because I have won a Group 1 on her, she is really top class and she is versatile."
Pettigrew had reportedly said in the build up to Saturday's Grade 1 Thekwini Stakes over 1600m that she was the best filly he had ever trained and she duly started joint 3/1 favourite with Caralluma.
However, De Gouveia, while confident, was not complacent.
He explained, "It is not a Maiden Plate, trainers enter their horses in Group 1's because they believe they can win so I had to be cautious as we were taking on the best of the best who were in Durban."
He said he had been particularly concerned about another Highveld raider, War Of Athena, after watching a replay of her last start.
He added, "But the draw is a big factor and I was grateful we had a draw advantage over War Of Athena."
In the last 100 metres War Of Athena began closing the gap rapidly but Anything Goes had built up a big enough lead and held on by a neck.
It was finely timed ride by De Gouveia.
However, he did not have much time to celebrate as he was focused on the next race, the Grade 1 Premiers Champion Stakes and his filly, Sentbydestiny who was taking on males and was the only female in the race
He said, "Candice asked me to follow a horse and said that if I wanted to, I could pull her out towards the end to see what she had. I did so and she not only passed her companion but she pulled five or six lengths clear. She has an exceptional turn of foot."
Candice was unable to make it to the races on the day but was replaced by her sister Tammy and the only instruction was a reminder of how good her turn of foot was.
He said, "I realised I had a massive chance at the 600m mark as I saw a lot of guys getting active and I was still travelling so well. I bided my time and the other horses did start quickening but I hadn't even asked her yet. Then when I did ask her (coming off the false rail) the response was instant. I thought for a moment I had gone too soon and her run would be short lived but she kept on going all the way to the line."
De Gouveia's now has three career Grade 1 victories, his first being on the Mike de Kock-trained Atyaab in last year's Cape Derby.
He hopes Saturday's Grade 1 double will bring him more support. He likes to target an improved overall performance every season while keeping it realistic and this year his goal is to finish in the top 20 on the national jockeys' log.