Saturday’s Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m) was won for an historic third consecutive time by Zipping in the come-back story of the spring.
Masterfully ridden by star hoop Michael Rodd, Zipping became the first horse in 122 years to win the Classic three times after an enthralling two-horse battle in the closing stages of the Sandown feature with valiant mare Purple.
The Lloyd Williams’ owned Zipping had a disastrous Flemington Carnival. The eight-year-old gelding was withdrawn from the Mackinnon Stakes after falling and entangling himself in the barrier stalls and was then also withdrawn from the Melbourne Cup.
The Melbourne Cup scratching was a double hit for Williams, whose other Cup hopeful Efficient had earlier been withdrawn due to an enduring leg injury.
Despite concerns, Zipping suffered no lasting or adverse affects from the Derby Day mishap a fortnight ago and the Robert Hickmott-trained runner pulled off his best performance in the Classic.
Zipping ($4.60) hit a flat spot mid-race before finding an extraordinary burst of acceleration in the last 800 meters to edge out Purple ($6) by a short neck with the Danny O’Brien-trained Master O’Reilly ($8) finishing a brave third three lengths from the winner.
Purple’s trainer Peter Snowden was aiming for a Sandown double feature with the Classic and the Guineas, but was happy with Purple’s narrowly missed second place and his victory in the Sandown Guineas with Kidnapped.
The short-priced favourite going into the race, Scenic Shot ($3.30) could only manage fourth after jockey Scott Scriven found himself trapped on the inside.
It was a brilliant debut meeting for Hickmott as Lloyd Williams’ newly appointed head trainer after he replaced John Sadler.
The victory brought Zipping’s record up to 13 wins in 39 career starts for stake earnings in excess of $2.7million.