Trainer Guy Walter continued his great association with the Keith Nolan Classic when he chalked up his fourth win in the Group 3 fillies race with Appearance at Kembla Grange yesterday.
The Sheikh Mohammed owner filly powered to the line to down the $3.60 equal favourite She Goes To Rio by a short half head in the Illawarra Mercury Keith F Nolan Classic (1600m) for three year old fillies.
Winning jockey Rod Quinn had Appearance ($5) midfield before making a late challenge to grab the Anthony Cummings trained filly who tried to lead all of the way.
The Peter Moody trained Chateau Margaux ($3.60 eq fav) was always well back and was never a threat finishing three and a half lengths away in seventh spot.
“This has been a great race for me and it’s terrific to win it again, especially with a Darley-owned filly,” Walter said.
“They have been very loyal supporters of mine through thick and thin, mostly thin, and I was lucky enough to win this race for them once before with Bernicia.”
“I’m just thrilled to have done it again with this filly.”
Walters other winners in the Keith Nolan Classic were Floria (2002), Bernicia (2008) and Slapstick (2010) and he was confident going into yesterday’s race that the Commands filly would be hard to beat.
“I was confident she could win today if she ran the mile,” Walter said after the race.
“I think she’s done a great job today. The leader had its own way in front and she had to run a very quick last 600 metres to win coming from three or four lengths off her.”
“This is a smart little filly.”
Appearance is nominated for the Group 1 $550,000 ATC Oaks at Randwick on April 21 but Walter is unsure if the filly will run the 2400m and will look for something shorter, and choose between the Group 3 $125,000 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) for three year old fillies at Randwick or the Group 3 $125,000 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) for three year olds both on April 14.
Peter Robl was left in front on She Goes To Rio, a position he didn’t want to be in after Nathan Berry eased Happy Hussy in behind, but stacked the field up and was only run down on the line.
“She’s not a natural leader but he got stuck in that position and she did a good job,” Cummings said.
“They’ve run home in 32.8 seconds and she’s been beaten a short half-head.”
Walter has decided against a run in the Group 1 $2m Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 21 for his smart filly Streama and will keep her to her own age after a lack lustre fifth against the mares in the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
Instead he will aim the Stratum filly towards the Group 1 $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) for three year old fillies at Rosehill on April 7 and then possibly onto the Group 1 $550,000 ATC Oaks (2400m) at Randwick two weeks later.
“She will not go to the Doncaster and she will probably run in the Vinery in two weeks time,” Walter said.
“She proved she’s not up to the older horses. The weights of the Doncaster are way too compressed anyway. It’s hopeless for a young horse and she won’t be going there.”