Smart seven-year-old mare Skyerush surprised and delighted her trainer Guy Walter at home at Warwick Farm on Chipping Norton Stakes Day, the evergreen veteran claiming an all-the-way win in the 2013 Liverpool City Cup.
The daughter of Super Jet, winner of the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes over the Randwick mile last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, broke an 11 month drought with an eye catching first-up victory in the $125,000 Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) setting her up for a shot at Group 1 glory later in her prep.
The always honest mare of 41 starts now had been right up there with the best on a number of occasions over the past year including her close second to Pear Tart in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) last winter and her unlucky fourth behind Appearance when defeated less than a length in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
It was a brilliant ride from Blake Shinn in the Liverpool City Cup, the hoop taking the initiative on Skyerush to drive her through for the first 50 metres burning along the inside to assume the lead over Stradbroke Handicap winner Mid Summer Music and pre-race favourite Famous Seamus.
“This horse you can’t go out with any set plan,” Shinn said after the win.
“I’ve rode her for three season and this is my seventh win on her and my plan was to just ride her how she jumped and she jumped well.”
She held a slow early pace taking her time cruising along in front with a comfortable lead and looking good before turning up the heat with more speed on the turn for home.
Another top fancy Riva De Lago put in a big challenge coming from further back in the pack to move up to Skyerush sitting right on the front runners back and the duo battled it out stride for stride over the closing stages.
Skyerush however dug deep and was able to pull away having been given the best run of the race to beat home the Chris Waller-trained Encosta De Lago gelding who was after their third win on the trot after back-to-back victories at Rosehill.
“Riva De Lago but up a good challenge but she was I for the fight,” Shinn said.
“I think this might be her best preparation.
“To my feeling out there I really knew she’d kick strongly, she’d had the two trials, she was forward enough.”
It was also a brave performance by the eventual third placed Bagman, the former Adelaide galloper having their maiden start for new trainer John O’Shea, who was racing for the first time since their close second in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield back in October.
Walter was very happy with the good return from his winning mare who came off a good recent trial and looks to be going great guns heading towards some of the bigger races of the carnival.
“It’s very, very pleasing as it’s a race I’ve always wanted to win and I didn’t expect her to win today but that’s typical of the mare she’s come out and produced her best,” he said.
“She’s a fantastic mare and is so underrated.
“She was pretty unlucky in the Myer (Classic when fourth) behind Appearance.
“She seldom, if ever, runs a bad race.
“I had no idea she’d be in front.
“Blake’s taken the initiative. She’s run well and he’s rode her superbly.
“I’m thrilled for the mare because she deserves it.”
As to where to next for Skyerush Walter said they would have a crack at the $400,000 Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Golden Slipper Day, April 6, but that a title defense in the $175,000 Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Sydney Cup Day, April 27, had always been the plan this time in.
“We’ll see how she goes,” he said.
“We’ll probably have a crack at the Queen Of The Turf but the Emancipation had been her goal all along.”
The Liverpool City Cup was being used by a number of horses as a lead up to the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 20 including third place-getter Bagman who was a triple figure roughie for the classic before their run here.
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2013 Liverpool City Cup Results & Finishing Order
Warwick Farm Race 5 – 09/03/2013
|1||4||SKYERUSH||Guy Walter||Blake Shinn||–||5||56kg||$14|
|2||7||RIVA DE LAGO||Chris Waller||Corey Brown||0.2L||1||55kg||$5|
|3||3||BAGMAN||John O’Shea||James McDonald||2L||4||56.5kg||$13|
|4||1||MID SUMMER MUSIC||Peter G Moody||Joshua Parr||2.6L||7||59kg||$8.50|
|5||5||RASPBERRIES||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||2.7L||3||55kg||$6|
|6||8||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||Noel Mayfield-Smith||Ms Robyn Freeman-Key||2.8L||9||54kg||$4.60F|
|7||9||STRIKE THE STARS (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||Peter Robl||3L||8||54kg||$12|
|8||6||JULIENAS (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||Jim Cassidy||3.2L||2||55kg||$12|
|9||10||SCREAM MACHINE||Jason Coyle||Ms Kathy O’Hara||4.7L||10||54kg||$14|
|10||2||ALL LEGAL||Kevin Moses||Glyn Schofield||5L||6||56.5kg||$21|