Warwick Farm-based horseman Guy Walter enjoyed his fourth victory in the Keith F Nolan Classic on Sunday at Kembla Grange with his smart Commands filly Appearance scoring an upset win in the Illawarra Turf Club’s flagship event.
Coming off a credible fourth to their Group 1 winning stablemate Streama in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m), the Darley-owned Appearance went out as a $5 chance in the bookmaker.com.au markets for Sunday’s $150,000 Group 3 Illawarra Mercury Keith F Nolan Classic (1600m).
Aided by a masterful ride by jockey Rod Quinn, now the only hoop in the race’s 14-year history to win multiple editions of the Keith F Nolan Classic, Appearance successfully stepped up to the mile for the first time.
In a thrilling photo finish Appearance held on to beat home Anthony Cummings’ last-start Canberra Guineas winner and the $3.60 favourite She Goes To Rio by just a half-head after the pair raced stride for strikde over the final 100 metres.
Finishing off the winning Keith F Nolan Classic 2012 trifecta was then the Kerry Parker-trained Aliyana Tilde ($14) just under a length off the winner.
Appearance, who has now won three of her six starts for $160,630 in prize money, joined Walter’s other Keith F Nolan Classic winners: Floria (2002), Bernicia (2008) and Slapstick (2010).
“It’s a great race because there is so few nice races for three-year-old fillies,” Walter said.
“It’s the right distance and on a good track like Kembla.
“I love coming here and I always try and target one or two to get here.
“We’ve been talking about this race for quite a while with this filly.”
Meanwhile, Quinn was also full of celebration after winning his second Keith F Nolan Classic following his success aboard the Gwenda Markwell-trained La Nikita back in 2004.
“It’s fantastic,” Quinn said of his record-breaking ride.
“I spent 10 to 15 years riding down here when Keith (Nolan) was president and we had a great time together.
“It is the second time I’ve won the race and it’s a great feeling to win a race named after him.”
As for where to next for Appearance, she is nominated for the $550,000 Group 1 ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 21, but Walter has his concerns over whether she would make the distance.
“I was confident she could win if she could run the mile,” Walter said.
“Could she run further? I don’t know.
“She’s had six starts now for three wins and a second. This is a smart filly.
“I’ll have to talk all that (an Australian Oaks campaign) over with the Darley people.”
In the latest 2012 ATC Oaks odds at bookmaker.com.au Appearance is one of the top fancies at a quote of $17, markets led by the brilliant Australian Guineas – Randwick Guineas double winner Mosheen ($2.30).
2012 Keith F Nolan Classic Results & Finishing Order
Kembla Grange Race 6 – 4:16pm – 25/03/2012
|1||5||APPEARANCE||Guy Walter||Rod Quinn||–||2||54kg||$5|
|2||1||SHE GOES TO RIO (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||Peter Robl||0.1L||5||56kg||$3.60EF|
|3||6||ALIYANA TILDE||Kerry Parker||Blake Shinn||0.9L||1||54kg||$14|
|4||7||CALINE||Peter Snowden||Christian Reith||1.1L||7||54kg||$20|
|5||9||PLUMM||Grahame Begg||Brenton Avdulla||1.3L||6||54kg||$9|
|6||2||HAPPY HUSSY||David Payne||Nathan Berry||1.7L||4||54kg||$7|
|7||4||CHATEAU MARGAUX||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||3.5L||8||54kg||$3.60EF|
|8||8||PINEAPPLE||Kerry Parker||Jeff Penza||5.5L||3||54kg||$41|
|9||10||PEDRINATE||Gwenda Markwell||Peter Wells||5.7L||9||54kg||$101|
|–||3||COLORADO CLAIRE||John O’Shea||Michael Rodd||–||0||–||–|