Guy Walter’s bonny mare Skeyrush posted back-to-back wins in this afternoon’s $175,000 Group 2 M.J. Bale Emancipation Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick, the rising eight-year-old racing with the zest of a horse half her age to successfully defend her title in the Sydney Cup Day classic.
One of the most consistent and pleasing runners in Walter’s Goulburn stables, Skyerush’s decisive victory was the Super Jet seven-year-olds’ 11th from 44 starts which have also produced an impressive 19 minor placings.
Despite her age Skyerush has been racing in the best form of her career this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival producing three Group wins from four starts after her first-up Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) success and her last start victory in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1600m).
Walter was not tempted to tackle the Doncaster Mile with Skyerush after her Prelude win, his decision to bypass the Group 1 and tackle the Emancipation Stakes again proving a rewarding move.
Skyerush certainly didn’t have everything go her way today either, the mare and jockey Blake Shinn having to be patient like they were in the same event 12 months ago, waiting for their chance to strike.
And when that chance came, strike she did.
The punters’ pick, Skyerush settled nicely into fourth with the pace set by the likes of Cathay Lady and Floria.
Heading towards home the favourite looked in trouble caught in between horses coming into the bend.
Skyerush was bailed up for a run, seemingly with nowhere to go with 150m left to run.
But the break eventually came and in a really cool ride Shinn took it letting the eventual winner do the rest, Skyerush ($3.50) exploding through the gap displaying her powerful late burst to beat home the Peter Moody-trained Floria ($31) by one and a quarter lengths with John Sargent’s pacesetter Cathay Lady ($10) just a nose further back for third.
The other top fancy in the field was then New Zealand Group 1 winner Xanadu ($4.40) who had their chance but after racing well back throughout could only manage to finish fifth, still under two lengths off the winner however.
Walter was thrilled once again by the too-good Skyerush, her flying form a compliment to the horsemanship of her trainer.
“She’s a fabulous mare and she’s just amazed me this preparation,” he said.
“She’s rising eight and racing easily in the best form of her career.
“(She’s got a) real will to win and is a credit to her part owner and breeder Susie Castle-Roche.
“Never had an unsound day in her life and here she is still winning group races at eight years old.”
Shinn was also full of superlatives for the evergreen veteran who he had enough confidence in today to let her sit back before putting the result beyond doubt with the blink of an eye, saying he would love to see her win a Group 1 during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival over the next couple of months to possibly see out her career on the track.
“She’s like a fine wine just keeps getting better,” he said.
“Full credit to Guy Walter, he’s mapped this race out right from the start of her prep.
“Each win along the way’s just been a bonus for her.
“(Today) she peaked at the right time, she surged through and just put the race beyond doubt in the final furlong.
“It was a bit of déjà vu as the run came exactly the same time as last year.
“I really hope she can win a Group 1.”
After her Emancipation Stakes victory last year Skyerush went to Queensland and was narrowly denied a well-deserved Group 1 victory when a long neck away second to Pear Tart in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) which will be her likely grand final again this June at Eagle Farm.
“I think Guy will go up to Brisbane with her again this year and it would be really fitting for her to end her career with a Group 1,” Shinn added.
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2013 Emancipation Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Royal Randwick Race 3 – 27/04/2013
|1||3||SKYERUSH||Guy Walter||Blake Shinn||–||2||56.5kg||$3.50F|
|2||6||FLORIA (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Steven Arnold||1.3L||10||56kg||$31|
|3||7||CATHAY LADY||John Sargent||Peter Robl||1.4L||3||55.5kg||$10|
|4||10||PLUCKY BELLE||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||1.5L||1||54kg||$12|
|5||2||XANADU (NZ)||Ken Kelso||Hugh Bowman||1.7L||4||57.5kg||$4.40|
|6||11||CANNERY ROW||Guy Walter||Craig Williams||3.1L||6||54kg||$31|
|7||4||RASPBERRIES||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||3.2L||8||56.5kg||$7|
|8||5||SHANNARA||Peter Snowden||Christian Reith||3.7L||7||56kg||$11|
|9||1||SAY NO MORE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||5.8L||9||58.5kg||$10|
|10||8||SCORPIO QUEEN||Chris Waller||Michael Rodd||7L||5||55.5kg||$21|
|11||9||SHAMARDANI||Gregory Hickman||Brenton Avdulla||8.4L||11||54kg||$41|
|–||12||BUGABOO (ARG)||Grahame Begg||Tommy Berry||–||0||–||–|