Superstar colt Sepoy gave trainer Peter Snowden his second Victoria Derby Day victory in the fourth this afternoon, the now four-time Group 1 champion hanging on to dispalay an iron will to win in the $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes(1200m).
Winner of the Blue Diamond Stakes – Golden Slipper double as a juvenile, and more recently taking care of the older horses in the Manikato Stakes, Elusive Quality three-year-old Sepoy went into double digit wins with the Coolmore Stud Stakes 2011 their 10th career success from 11 starts.
He was the first horse in Australian racing history to win the Blue Diamond Stakes and Golden Slipper and then come back as a three-year-old to win the Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby Day.
A true turf hero having won over $3.6 million in prize money, Sepoy was the deserved odds-on favourite in the Luxbet markets for the Coolmore jumping as the $1.30 top elect in the 10-horse field.
Continuing the good luck for the Derby Day punters, Sepoy was the third odds-on favourite to salute in the opening four races following the win by their up-and-coming stablemate Galah in the first and Crown Oaks-bound Atlantic Jewel maintaining her flawless record in the Wakeful Stakes.
While there were queries about whether Sepoy was as brilliant down the Flemington straight, he showed that he was capable of not only blistering wins by big margins, but gritty victories hanging onto a lead with a fast finishing chaser in Foxwedge.
Sepoy and race jockey Kerrin McEvoy jumped away very well as did Unique Quality and Clarry Conners’ honest filly Satin Shoes.
It was Satin Shoes who went to the lead, Foxwedge tracking up on the outside while Masthead was ridden cold back last of all.
The favourite started their run with around 300 metres to go, Sepoy grabbing Satin Shoes and hitting the lead by the 200 metres before pulling away.
Originally it looked as though Sepoy would put two lengths on his rivals in the Coolmore, but the John O’Shea-trained Foxwedge came up hard and fast on the outside with a brave challenge.
Running the race of their life Foxwedge gave it their all, but Sepoy hung on to win by a neck.
In a photo for third a further two lengths away Satin Shoes was found to have finished off the winning Coolmore Stud Stakes trifecta.
If there were two more strides in the feature there would have been a massive Derby Day upset.
“You get a little bit nervous…he’s just been winning so well,” McEvoy said after the race.
“He’s been fantastically well handled the whole way through.
“He’s got a fantastic record now.
“It’d be nice to see him in Australia for a couple of runs in the autumn before he heads overseas.”
Sepoy wasn’t as dominant today, showing that he was definitely coming towards the end of his preparation, and while he didn’t display his usual acceleration he did show the greatness of a champion racehorse digging deep to hold on for the win, something Snowden was quick to credit.
“With Sepoy the margin issue isn’t that big,” Snowden said.
“He’s a great horse, he’s been up a long time and although the margin was small the effort was huge.”
The Coolmore Stud Stakes was Sepoy’s spring grand final, Snowden saying they would not be pressing onto next Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival where Australia’s sprint queen Black Caviar vies for her 16th straight career success.
“He’s got a lot of maturing to do,” Snowden said.
“He’s just not physically or mentally ready to take on a champion (like Black Caviar) but one day he will be.”
After going to the paddock for a well-earned rest Sepoy will be bought back for the autumn with the plan being to head to England for the Royal Ascot Carnival in the winter.
“We’ll plan a campaign over there during the June Cup Carnival at Ascot…and just showcase Australian racing and himself,” Snowden said.
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2011 Coolmore Stud Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1st||1||SEPOY(8)||Kerrin McEvoy||Peter Snowden||56.5||1-10.49|
|2nd||4||FOXWEDGE(6)||Nash Rawiller||John O’Shea||56.5||0.2L|
|3rd||10||SATIN SHOES(4)||James McDonald||Clarry Conners||54.5||1.7L|
|4th||8||ZAMORAR(5)||Steven Arnold||David Bourne||56.5||1.8L|
|5th||7||ADAMANTIUM(10)||Mark Zahra||Danny O’Brien||56.5||2.1L|
|6th||3||HOT SNITZEL(3)||Hugh Bowman||Gerald Ryan||56.5||2.2L|
|7th||2||MASTHEAD(1)||Craig Williams||Anthony Freedman||56.5||2.4L|
|8th||5||UATE(7)||Corey Brown||Kris Lees||56.5||17.4L|
|9th||9||UNIQUE QUALITY(9)||Peter Mertens||Frankie Stockdale||56.5||18.7L|
|10th||6||BEAR HERO(2)||Brett Prebble||David Ferraris||56.5||20.9L|