After the closest of finishes in a thrilling race Darley’s four-year-old Commands mare Appearance lived up to her name by appearing just at the right time under Blake Shinn to win the $600,000, Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) by a nose over Red Tracer and Norzita (NZ) at Rosehill on Saturday.
The three came together over the final strides to leave the crowd waiting for the photo finish to reveal who had won after they had lunged at the line in unison. Red Tracer and Corey Brown were on the inside with Appearance and Shinn in the middle and Norzita and James McDonald on the outside.
It was close, Red Tracer inside, Appearance in the middle and Norzita (NZ) outside, picture Sportpix.com.au
It was the Guy Walter trained Appearance with just a nose margin with Red Tracer second and Norzita third, the margin a further nose. Steps In Time and Nash Rawiller were fourth and Zurella (NZ) fifth.
Steps In Time (57.5kg) and Rawiller went out to the lead from their wide barrier of 15 followed by Pear Tart (55.5kg) and Christian Reith and Driefontein (52.5kg ) and Tommy Berry. Appearance and Shinn settled in sixth running outside Irish Dream (52kg) and apprentice Sam Clipperton.
The leading duo opened up 3L over the rest as they went through the early sectionals and it was not until they reached the top of the home straight before the field came back to the leaders.
Shinn followed Driefontein racing in the middle of the track passing the 300m mark. Red Tracer (57.5kg) and Brown took over at the 150m as Steps In Time felt the pressure of coming across from the wide barrier.
Red Tracer looked to have secured a winning break, but outside her the two others had momentum and they closed relentlessly. It took until the finish line for them to come together, and at the crucial moment Appearance had her nose in front
The time was 1.28.38 on the Good 3 track with the final 600m in 34.94. Appearance paid $13.20 on NSW TAB. The $6.00 favourite Dear Demi finished 11th.
Guy Walter, picture Sportpix.com.au
It was the second Group 1 victory for Appearance after her just as narrow Myer Classic over 1600m at Flemington in November. The margin on that occasion was a long neck.
“As I said in Melbourne It’s great to win for Darley they have been tremendous supporters of mine over a number of years and congratulations to them,” said Walter
“This is a very underrated mare I said that after the Myer she has got under the radar I didn’t think she could win that day and here we are she has only had 12 starts has won two Group 1’s plus a Keith Nolan she is an outstanding mare,” he said.
Walter usually has a small number of Darley’s mares in his Warwick Farm stable.
“It probably stemmed when they first brought some imported mares out from England through Ollie Tate then Henry Plumptre and they are a great team and great to be a part of it,” he said.
“I am very grateful for the support.”
“She goes to the Queen Of The Turf in a fortnight and then the Doncaster and see what happens from there,” he said.
“The past twelve months have been a big learning curve for me I have had to really knuckle down,” said Shinn.
“The last Autumn Carnival was pretty grim for me and it has been just been a lot of hard work, with a lot of support from Guy Walter and it means a lot.”
“You have to be prepared to cop the knocks and you have to work twice as hard to get back and I have worked so hard to get back and it means so much, mum is here today and it’s unbelievable.
“I wasn’t sure (if won) we had a great run throughout but inside the 300m she just lifted for me and responded and the more I asked of her the more she picked up.”
“It’s just fantastic to ride my first Group 1 for Guy Walter, I do most of his riding and he and his wife Wendy are just great people and it means so much,” he said.
Shinn has battled to return to top line racing after his suspension for wagering, injury and racing suspensions and the win was worthy of the effort he has put in to climb back.
Darley’s Australian managing director Henry Plumptre was full of praise for the mare and Walter.
“It was a bit close for comfort, but we are very happy,” he said.
“She is a very good mare, always very under-rated and she put her hand up last year and she has now won two Group 1’s by about a centimetre, but she has still won them.
“It was a great training effort as she is a difficult mare to train as she ties up a lot, so he has done a marvellous job.
“And it is great for the stallion, he has had his best year ever which shows as you get older you get better,” he said.
“The way the race was run I was back I was just never in my comfort zone. I never got into any rhythm and those back behind the main bunch we just never got into the race,” said Cassidy of Dear Demi’s run.
Appearance is out of the Grand Lodge mare Disguise and this was her fifth win from 12 starts. She came into the race from a first up second for this campaign in the listed Triscay Stakes over 1200m at Warwick Farm on February 23rd followed by a fourth in the listed Wiggle Stakes over 1400m on March 9th.
With three placings she has earned stakes of $872,530 for Sheikh Mohammed’s vast trained and breeding operation.
Blake Shinn, picture Sportpix.com.au
Race 7, photo finish ATC