The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Trainer Chris Waller kept the wins coming at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday with his class mare Espiona finally living up to her Group 1 potential to score a much deserved elite level win in the 2023 Coolmore Classic results.
“It’s a special win for (owner) Denise Martin who is a huge supporter of our stable,” Waller said after the victory.
“She’s just a pleasure to train for.”
Spruiked early in her career as one to watch before falling short of expectations the now four-year-old daughter of Extreme Choice got back in favour with the punters relishing a light weight in the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) to score her all-important maiden Group 1 trophy.
“We had the pin-up girl at the time and she lost her way a little bit, but she’s done a great job today,” Waller added.
It was a master training performance by the marvel that is Waller who had taken the mare to Melbourne for a confidence boosting Group 3 Mannerism Stakes win last start on Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
Third-up and fit for her return to Group 1 racing in the Coolmore Espiona relished dropping back from the 58kg she carried to victory in the Mannerism right down to just 51kg and was too strong late with the in-form Michael Dee aboard on the light weight.
“Unbelievable. I just said to Chris ‘genius'”, Martin told the media after the race.
“Perfect ride. She’s been a little bit out of sorts with some of the punters but I hope they all love her again today, we do.
“When Chris said she can run in a Group 3 all her life but with 51 (kilos) in a Group 1 we’ve got to take the chance.
Dee came up the inside on the home straight to run past the leader and win the Coolmore Classic by a nose right on the line.
“It was good to see her get back to winning form last start,” Waller said.
“Obviously she could be a bit better in Melbourne, but we had to have an opportunity on her home track.
“Thrown in at the weights and a lovely draw and a lovely ride from Michael Dee.”
The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained fellow light weight Pride Of Jenni, fourth in the Mannerism last start further franking the four out of the Victorian lead-up, was game in defeat after leading nearly all the way to hold for second in a close three-way finish at 30/1.
“Brave in defeat. Had to do the donkey work in front. Felt like she was getting tired in the straight but when they came at her, she really stuck her head down and fought right to the line. Really good run,” Pride Of Jenni’s hoop Robbie Dolan said.
Rounding out the Coolmore Classic trifecta narrowly beaten after making up all the late ground off a horror run was the eye-catching Gold Standard filly Sheeza Belter ($12) for Peter & Paul Snowden.
Espiona took out the Coolmore in a fast time of 1 minute 27.62 seconds with plenty of upcoming Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival options for the back in form mare including a potential quick back-up into the Group 1 $1 million George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Saturday week.
2023 Coolmore Classic Results & Finishing Order
|1||14||ESPIONA||Chris Waller||Michael Dee||6||51kg||$8|
|2||18||PRIDE OF JENNI||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Robbie Dolan||0.06L||2||51kg||$31|
|3||10||SHEEZA BELTER||Peter & Paul Snowden||William Pike||0.21L||7||52.5kg||$12|
|4||3||HOPE IN YOUR HEART||Kerry Parker||Tim Clark||2.95L||9||56kg||$10|
|5||6||MIRRA VISION||Peter & Paul Snowden||Tom Sherry||2.98L||3||54kg||$31|
|6||13||YEARNING||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Zac Lloyd (a)||3.53L||8||52kg||$13|
|7||16||MORE PROPHETS||John Thompson||Brock Ryan||3.78L||13||51kg||$71|
|8||1||HINGED||Chris Waller||James McDonald||4.09L||12||57kg||$6.50|
|9||4||MUSTANG VALLEY (NZ)||Andrew Forsman||Chad Schofield||4.24L||11||55kg||$21|
|10||9||RUTHLESS DAME (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Dylan Gibbons (a)||4.38L||10||52.5kg||$8|
|11||17||TOREGENE (NZ)||Matthew Williams||Dean Yendall||5.13L||4||51kg||$13|
|12||7||PURPLEPAY (FR)||William Haggas||Regan Bayliss||7.13L||5||53.5kg||$26|
|13||8||EXPAT (NZ)||Mark Newnham||Tyler Schiller (a)||9.06L||1||53kg||$13|
|14||2||ANNAVISTO (NZ)||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Nash Rawiller||45.3L||14||56kg||$5F|
|11||EXCELIDA||Ben & JD Hayes||Brett Prebble||0|
|5||ZOUGOTCHA||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||0|
|15||TIMES SQUARE (FR)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Jay Ford||0|
|12||LARKSPUR RUN||James Cummings||Ms Rachel King||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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