The $150,000, Listed, Ipswich Turf Club Gai Waterhouse Classic (1200m) brought down the curtain on a typically eventful Ipswich Cup Day and witnessed the closest finish of the afternoon when the John O’Shea-trained Lillemor (by Hallowed Crown) defeated former stablemate Intrepidacious (by Shooting To Win) by a proverbial nostril.
Sent north for the black-type contest after a last-start victory at Randwick, Lillemor just managed to get her nose in front on the line in a blanket finish that witnessed the first four horses home finish within half-a-length of each other in the coveted fillies and mares contest.
Intrepidacious, a first starter for Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman following his recent return from Singapore, all but dead-heated for first, with Blazing Miss (by Sizzling) claiming third and the 3-year-old Fleet Dove finishing fourth.
Run at a ferocious pace when Kylease burnt to the fence from an outside barrier and did her level best to lead from start-to-finish, the prestigious sprint saw just two-and-a-half lengths cover the first eleven horses home.
Ironically, runner-up Interpidacious was also trained by John O’Shea before her recent switch to Lee Freedman's newly formed Queensland stable.
Raced by Twin Palms Stud and members of the Johnson family, Lillemor recorded her seventh career win — though her first in black-type company — and is now a very valuable broodmare prospect as a daughter of the Golden Slipper winner Polar Success.
Lillemor scored by a Nose, with a Half-Head separating the placegetters.
SPs on the Gai Waterhouse Classic were $4.20 favourite Lillemor, $6.00 Intrepidacious, and $26.00 Blazing Miss.
Winning time was 1m11.48s (last 600m in 36.02s).
RAS NewsWire’s Mandy Cottell reports
Lillemor’s Gai Waterhouse Classic victory gave Ben Thompson a race-to-race feature double after he took out the Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1100m) aboard Snitch for Tony Gollan.
Speaking after his Eye Liner victory, Thompson said he was rapt to land a win in a drawcard event, adding Snitch appreciated getting to the outside.
“It’s really nice to get a feature winner on a big day,” Thompson said.
“He loves space, and once I was able to follow Really Discreet into the straight and give him plenty of room, he balanced up and gave me a good kick.”
Snitch gave Thompson his first victory in the Eye Liner Stakes and Gollan his third after Alma’s Fury (2014) and I’m A Rippa (2018).
Gollan said he was upbeat about Snitch’s chances if he could get the right run.
“We came here with a lot of confidence. We were obviously worried about Amish Boy, but he did a great job this horse.
“Ben rode him beautifully and everything opened up nicely,” Gollan said.
Snitch reeled in leader Axe to score by a half-length, with Right Or Wrong a close-up third, just ahead of the luckless Amish Boy.