Imported stayer Au Revoir fought off Epingle in the final stages to record a narrow win in the 2014 Zipping Classic at Sandown this afternoon.
Au Revoir finished a credible eighth in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and was given the tough task of dropping back in trip for the Zipping Classic, but produced his best performance since arriving in Australia to record his first race win in over a year.
Consistent mare Epingle looked as though she had the race won when she got her nose in front with 50 metres left to run, but Au Revoir was able to fight back bravely and hit the front again in the shadows of the post.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy was riding Au Revoir for the first time and he believes that the Zipping Classic winner is an exciting stayer that has plenty of promise ahead of his next preparation.
“It is real credit to get this horse back from a Melbourne Cup a week and a half to go to run here,” McEvoy said.
“He is nice and fresh, he paraded well and he gave me a really nice ride throughout.
“He was pricking his ears and not really doing it for me, so I was glad when Chad went around and led which gave him something to follow.
“He really laid his ears back at the 300 and was full of running hitting the line.”
OTI Racing started the day with a win in the Sandown Cup with Renew and co-owner Terry Henderson was thrilled to take out the Zipping Classic with Au Revoir after the operation had a tough start to the week due to the death of Ibicenco.
The Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) has always been on the agenda for Au Revoir and Henderson said that the race was still an option for the Singspiel entire, while he revealed that a crack at the 2015 Melbourne Cup would be the long range goal for the promising stayer.
“It was a bad start to the week, but we have to winners and it is remarkable,” Henderson said.
“The aim is to get them settled in Australia first and he will have a very light autumn and hopefully by the time spring comes around he will be ready to go again.
“We still have the Hong Kong option and we will have a look at the horse in the next few days to see whether he is ready to go to Hong Kong, but clearly next year it must be the Cup.
“This will make sure he gets a run without any problems.”
2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon travelled into the race beautifully, but was unable to sprint with the rest of the field in the final stages, while the out of form Sea Moon was the first horse beaten in the Zipping Classic.