Hard working jockey Linda Meech has broken through for a maiden Group 1 victory at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon; partnering talented mare Plucky Belle to an impressive win in the Coolmore Classic (1500m).
Jumping from the gates only fairly, Meech settled Plucky Belle off the pace of early leaders Tarloshan, Thump and three-year-old Amicus who stormed clear of the barriers and set a fast pace towards the turn.
Finding the final straight blocked for a run and plenty to do, Meech threaded the Mossman mare through the pack over the final 400m; meeting a line of horses in the last 100m and poking a head clear of favourite First Seal on the line; Diamond Drille charging home down the outside for a close third.
Clare Cunningham, stable representative for trainer Peter Moody was on hand to witness Plucky Belle’s 2015 Coolmore Classic triumph, and was thrilled for Meech in securing her first victory at the highest level.
“What a thrill, she really deserves it,” Cunningham said.
“We’re absolutely stoked to have her and great ride by Linda. What a tough effort; she pushed through a gap and she just kept on fighting, that’s just what she’s like. She deserves this.
“It’s just good to get it. She (Meech) deserves it more than anyone.”
Meech was understandably elated with her maiden Group 1 victory aboard Plucky Belle in the 2015 Coolmore Classic, and was quick to lay all the praise on the classy six-year-old.
“It’s a bit surreal – I thought I got beaten!” Meech said after dismounting.
“I thought she’d run a gallant race and she went everywhere I wanted her to go.
“Took every gap and when I really asked her to quicken she pinned her little ears back.
“I’m still waiting to see the number in the right spot, it’s one of those things I don’t think will sink in for a while.
“He (Moody) said it was about time I rode a Group 1 winner, he was having a little joke this morning. He has so much faith in me that he’d put me on a Group 1 winner here.”
A trip north for the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) on Day 2 of The Championships now appears a likely target for Plucky Belle following this afternoon’s impressive performance.