A devastating late finish provided an exciting conclusion to this year’s $150,000 XXXX Gold Kalgoorlie Cup 2300m, as the Gino Poletti trained Classique Ivory came from near last to claim victory in the Goldfields feature.
Backed into the third line of betting ($7.00), the Savabeel 5yo was forced to take an early sit in the back half of the field from a wide barrier draw, as notorious local pacemaker Defy Me ($26.00) and second elect Imperial Command ($6.50) did as expected in taking up the running.
Race favourite and Boulder Cup victor Fanicio ($5.00) was also found near the rear early as senior hoop Troy Turner carefully negotiated a 3 ½ kg weight rise allotted for the Cup.
As the leaders snuck clear inside the 400m mark, it seemed as if Imperial Command had the Cup in its keeping, as it surged past Deny Me in the straight and kicked a couple of lengths clear.
But the back markers were closing fast as Imperial Command literally ran out of gas inside the final 100m. Bursting through the pack came Classique Ivory, with Starlight Lady ($17.00) hot on its heels – the pair putting paid to Imperial Command in a flash as they lunged at the line.
And not for the first time, it would be the timed perfection of jockey Shaun O’Donnell that would prove the difference – as he lifted Classique Ivory in the concluding stages to prevail in the final stride by a mere neck.
Starlight Lady was brave in defeat, as Imperial Command fell into third a further 1 ¾ lengths away. Fanicio travelled well in running, but was unable to go with the swoopers late in the race, finishing a credible fifth.
It was win number 8 from 17 career starts, and the first listed scalp for Classique Ivory – a deserved victory for a horse that rarely runs a bad race.