Horse racing nostalgia often focuses on preposterously massive weights great horses were able to carry to victory in the handicap races of old.
At Hastings on Saturday we were treated to a modern-day example of that feat when wonderful 8-year-old Fritzy Boy lugged a massive 60kg to victory in the Group 3 Traderacks Stakes.
Fritzy Boy was making his 20th trip to Hastings on Saturday, and this was the ideal way to celebrate. He'd already proven his class to Hastings racing fans, with his 2008 Group 1 Mudgway PartsWorld Stakes victory and four other stakes placings on the track. But with the massive weight he was assigned in Saturday's race, the task seemed insurmountable against a field packed with quality and sprinting talent.
But in-form jockey Hayden Tinsley gave Fritzy Boy a dream run just in behind the leaders, angled him out soon after straightening, and the old boy did the rest. He slowly but surely ran down the determined leader, Antonio Lombardo. But then Aspinal made her bid. With a spectacular turn of foot, Aspinal burst to the lead and looked to have the race all wrapped up.
But Fritzy Boy showed just how much will to win can do. He got up off the canvas and fought back, drawing level with Aspinal. The two traded the lead with each stride for the last few metres of the race, and the great Fritzy Boy thrust his head out at the line for a superb and hugely popular win.
This was Fritzy Boy's 15th win from 54 starts, and it took his earnings past $780,000. In a career full of highlights, this was one of the absolute best. To give so much weight to such talented opposition and still beat them takes something truly special.
Aspinal was half a head away in second, and she had a comfortable 1-length buffer on brave favourite Antonio Lombardo. Capone, one of the longshots of the field, caught the eye with a strong late sprint down the outside to take fourth place ahead of the tiring Pellegrini.
The disappointments in the race were Papilio, who finished 3.4 lengths from the winner in seventh place, and local hope The Hombre. If the good The Hombre had shown up at Hastings on Saturday, even Fritzy Boy would have struggled to hold him at bay. But, as happens so frustratingly frequently, The Hombre was well below his best and finished in ninth, just under five lengths from the winner.