IT'S not often someone will declare a second placing as 'a career-best effort'.
But for the father-daughter harness racing combination of Terry and Tayla French, the effort of Interpretation in last Saturday night's Breeders Crown Four-Year-Old Mares Championship was exactly that.
The daughter of Well Said produced a mighty effort to beat home all but the Emma Stewart-trained Fiamma ($1.40 favourite) at odds of $51.
While the Stewart-trained runner did it in style, Interpretation was conspicuous in second place, putting an eight-metre gap between herself and the third placegetter Younggiftedandblack.
The $6000 prize purse was also a career-high for the ever-consistent mare, whose record now stands at seven wins and 18 placings from 69 starts for earnings just a shade over $60,000.
All bar one of those starts - her debut at Bathurst in December of 2021 - have come under the guidance of Heathcote trainer Terry French.
His 26-year-old daughter Tayla could not have been prouder of the honest mare's effort after steering her into second place.
"She went terrific ... it was a great run. Most definitely a career-best run," she said.
"We never expected her to do that and if we went down there and ran fourth or fifth onwards, she'd have done a super job.
"She actually ran at Charlton on Thursday, so the quick back-up never always goes to plan with horses.
"But when we saw the race at Melton with only a couple of noms in it, we thought we'd risk it for the biscuit and it worked."
Her Melton run was in actual fact the durable Interpretation's third start in seven days.
She kicked off with a NR 50 to 59 win at Shepparton the previous Sunday, before breaking in the running at Charlton.
"We were discussing it on the way to Charlton that it would all depend on how she pulled up, whether we would go to Melton or not," French said.
"But she was jumping out of her skin and there was no reason for her not to go.
"In the end she was full of surprises.
"The draw definitely helped her - she's always better on the fence.
"She normally likes to be off the front and run the gait and hand up and be behind the leader, but when she was three-back behind some pretty handy horses, we were never going to be too far away.
"It was only a small field, but with a few standouts in it, but she never doubted us."
A big race second has kept Interpretation's preparation flickering for a few more weeks.
"We did intend to put her out in the paddock, but she keeps getting better with every run," French said.
"She's so fit at the moment.
"The night after the race you wouldn't have thought she'd been around, so she has taken it to another level at the moment.
Six of Interpretation's seven wins have come this season from 43 starts.
She has also been placed nine times.
The French stable will look to continue the momentum with three runners in action at Maryborough on Wednesday.
They are the eight-year-old pacing gelding Joeys Hangover, Playnice and the five-year-old mare Muriel.
The daughter of Caribbean Baster, Muriel has been a model of consistency with six straight top three placings, headlined by a win at Swan Hill in mid-October.
Tayla French and partner Alex Ashwood will have a lot to look forward to later in the week with two hopes in lucrative Breeders Crown finals at Melton on Saturday night.
They are the two-year-old pacing filly Bella Danza and the two-year-old trotting filly Amalia Pearl.
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