Steps In Time held-off a fast-finishing Sweet Idea to record a maiden win at Group 1 level in the 2014 Coolmore Classic at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Jockey Jimmy Cassidy took Steps In Time straight to the lead and stacked up the field at the 1000 metre mark before stealing a six lengths break when he asked the Danehill Dancer mare coming around the final bend.
Sweet Idea stormed home late in the final 100 metres, but was unable to catch Steps In Time who held on by the narrowest of margins to give Cassidy his fourth win in the Coolmore Classic and his 102nd victory at the highest level of racing.
Cassidy was delighted to steer Steps In Time to her first Group 1 win and dedicated the race to fellow jockey Nathan Berry, who remains in a serious condition in a Singapore hospital with viral encephalitis.
“I’ve done that one for Nathan Berry,” Cassidy said.
“My wishes and my heart and everything goes to Nathan and the Berry family.
“It is great to win the Coolmore, but I haven’t forgotten about Nathan and I just hope he gets a speedy recovery and is back here shortly punching home winners himself.”
Cassidy said that his plan was always to make a run for home on Steps In Time at the 600 metre mark in the Coolmore Classic and trainer Joseph Pride said that he would not question the judgment of the veteran hoop.
Steps In Time was having only her second start for the Pride stable, after finishing a narrow second behind Catkins in the Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 15, but the leading Sydney trainer was clearly thrilled to record his first Group 1 victory since he took out the 2011 edition of the Doncaster Mile with Sacred Choice.
“It was probably a bit of a bold call to take her second-up into this race today, but I just thought that it was the best way to go with her,” Pride said.
“It was a bold ride from Jimmy; he only just got it right, but when he gets it right it all looks good.
“He told us what he was going to do and I wasn’t about to give Jimmy instructions.
“There were too many variable and he got it just right.
“I couldn’t be happier with result.”
Owner Mike Everett bred Steps In Time himself and has patiently waited for the six-year-old to score a win at Group 1 level, after she was narrowly denied victory in last year’s Coolmore Classic, and he was quick to pay credit to the efforts of Pride and Cassidy.
“I am involved in this horse with a couple of great blokes and it is just a thrill for all of us to be involved,” Everett said after the race.
“We always know that she is always going to give us a show and today she did.
“It has been a nice mix-up (joining the Pride stable) and Jimmy rode her an absolute treat.
“It was a ripper job from all.”
Everett revealed that Steps In Time would head to the breeding barn at the end of the 2013/2014 racing season, but she may have the opportunity to score another win at Group 1 level after being included in the nominations for both the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1300m) and the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m).