Darley and Peter Snowden scored a magnificent quinella in the $1m, Group 1 De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m), the first Group 1 of the season, at the Australian Turf Club’s meeting at Rosehill on Saturday.
Epaulette (far side) gets the better of stable companion Albrecht in the Golden Rose, picture sportspix.com.au
In a stirring finish which left the rest of the field behind the Commands colt Epaulette and Tommy Berry prevailed over Albrecht and Kerrin McEvoy after the two had gone virtually stride for stride over the final 200m. These two well-bred colts were separated by just a head at the line and they had dominated the race finish.
Doubtfully and Jim Byrne were out quickly from the barriers closed followed by Your Song and Peter Robl. At the 600m Doubtfully and Your Song had 2L on the rest of the field with Ashokan and James McDonald the next in line.
The $2.10 favourite Nechita and Christian Reith followed racing one out and tracking Your Song. At the rear of the field sat the two Darley runners with and they patiently stayed there until the 500m.
Both them improved going to the outside of the field as they swung for the main straight with Epaulette and Berry going to the very outside and Albrecht and McEvoy going one inside with Shamexpress (NZ) and Corey Brown between them.
There was a crucial moment when Albrecht had to push his way through with Shamexpress lugging in, but then he was through. Epaulette with his clear passage was racing well on the outside.
Up front Nechita had sprinted clear after Doubtfully faded, but it was a brief burst with 200m to run and then the Darley pair arrived on the outside.
They quickly went away from the rest of the field in a tight fight for supremacy and at the line it was the clear passage of Epaulette that took the honours over his stablemate Albrecht (Redoute’s Choice).
Ashokan (More Than Ready) and McDonald held on well for third, the margin 2 1/4L. Ninth Legion was fourth, Kabayan fifth and Nechita sixth.
The time was 1.22.30 on the Good 3 track with the final 600m in 35.37. Epaulette paid $11.60 on TAB.com.au and the First Four paid $17,328.10.
Epaulette and Tommy Berry return victorious, picture sportpix.com.au
“Fantastic,” Snowden said. “When the draw came out I thought shit what a draw, they did a lot of things wrong, both horses did, but the last furlong (200m) was enormous, I cannot describe how good it was.
“(Epaulette) is a great colt, that mare he is out, Accessories, is a champion, she has thrown Helmet and Bullbars, two great horses and now three Group 1 winners, she is a great mare.
“Hopefully (Epaulette) can go on with it because I feel there is a lot more improvement in him today, and I was proud of the other horse as well.
“That is the joy of having two in the race and coming first and second, who cares who wins, it does not matter.
“(Epaulette) goes to the Caulfield Guineas Prelude next in a fortnight and hopefully the Guineas and then hope we can have a crack at Pierro at our best.
“It is a fantastic result, when you breed and rear your own and race them it is imperative you get good colts and we have two good ones here,” he said.
“It’s unbelievable. I really have to think Mr Snowden, he has supported me so much throughout my whole career,” said Berry.
“This is just unreal, to ride a Group 1 winner was all I ever wanted to do so I have to thank him and the owners of Darley and hope I can keep my association going.
“I thought this horse would run good but I didn’t think he would be suited getting back today but Mr Snowden is a genius, he said go back and ride for luck, it is just unreal.
“It steadied up a bit in the middle stages and my bloke got on the bit but when he let rip, he let rip. My bloke wanted to lug in a bit because he knew where his mate was but he stuck his neck out at the right time.
“I have to thank my parents, they have been great supporters, and Nathan, you couldn’t find a better brother,” an emotional Berry added.
Later Berry, 21, recalled how he and his brother, when they were youngsters used to throw stones at Snowden’s fishpond.
“He used to chase us away from his place for pegging rocks at his fish on the corner, it all started there,” he said.
“I remember sitting on my pony one day at the tuck shop at Warwick Farm and he said don’t worry I’ll give you plenty of rides and I was probably two three years off starting.
“It means a lot, Warwick Farm trainer, I’ve known him since we were little babies, it is just unreal.
“They’re good horses but he was just outstanding that horse. I’ve had plenty of opportunities with Gai and won Magic Millions, Group Twos, Threes but that’s just unbelievable.”
“Apart from the boss they’re the best colours in the world,” he said.
The win was the third for the sire Commands after Paratroopers in 2005 and Court Command in 2006.
Epaulette won the listed Black Opal Stakes over 1200m at Canberra in March and then was unplaced in the Golden Slipper.
Snowden resumed with the colt in the Group 3 The Run To The Rose over 1200m at Rosehill on September 1st and he was third behind Pierro.
He was due to be ridden on Saturday by Brisbane jockey Damien Browne but Browne turned the opportunity down to ride in a handicap at Doomben. He won, but it was most certainly not a million dollar Group 1 race and it was Berry’s good fortune instead.
Epaulette, picture sportpix.com.au
Epaulette will now go to Melbourne for the $175,000, Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on September 30th while Albrecht will go to the $250,000 Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) back at Rosehill on September 29th.
The Caulfield Guineas market was turned on its head after the win with Pierro drifting from his price of $1.90 to $2.20 with TAB Fixed Odds while Epaulette is now on the second line of betting at $8.00 after being as much as $21, with Albrecht close behind at $9.00 after being out as far as $35.
Epaulette has now earned stakes of $865,000.