History made at Sandown Classic
Zipping landed a history-making third straight win in the Sandown Classic after a masterful ride from top jockey Michael Rodd which gave Robert Hickmott a double with his first runners for prominent owner Lloyd Williams.
Rodd, who marries Cara Aspinall on Sunday, had Zipping back near the rear of the 10-horse field in what had been a slowly-run affair in the 2400m feature.
But he took off before the 800m mark with a lightning move which took him outside race leader Purple on the home turn.
The pair had the race between them and Purple fought back gallantly after being headed to almost level up with Zipping at the 200m.
However Zipping ($4.60) went home a shade better and beat Purple ($6) by a short neck with Master O’Reilly ($8) three lengths away third.
"The game plan just was to ride him like last year and Lloyd said he was only going to give me one instruction, that when I go don’t stop because he’ll go through his flat stage and take off again," Rodd said.
"They just went that slow I couldn’t wait any longer. Lloyd said he’d go a lot better than last year so I thought `Ah well’.
"Before the race I was pretty confident I could win. I just had to go at the right time and I could see Ollie (Damien Oliver on Raffaello, fifth) was forward of me and he was trying to push Ice Chariot out of the way.
"So I thought I’d get going at least to keep him in so I could get away from him.
"He’s a very good horse this bloke."
Rodd said he was always confident he had the better of Purple in the straight.
"I’ve only ridden him once before but I’ve seen him in races and his best part is his last 100 metres and he sort of peaked and went again. It was a tough effort, he was the best horse in the race," he said.
Zipping was trained by John Sadler when he won the Group Two Sandown Classic (2400m) in 2007 when ridden by Steven Arnold, and in 2008 when Rodd came with a late run on him to win narrowly.
The Danehill eight-year-old has won 13 of his 39 starts and among his nine placings are a Cox Plate second to Maldivian last year and a third to So You Think this year.
His stake earnings stand at more than $2.7 million.
Hickmott, who also won with odds-on shot Tintern in the opening event on Saturday, was saddling up his first runners as a trainer in his own right after replacing Sadler who recently resigned.
Hickmott has worked for the Williams stable for seven years.
Nick Williams, representing the stable, praised the in-form Rodd’s ride.
"He knew what he was doing and he got it right, God bless him," he said.
He said Zipping was a marvel to come back from his Derby Day mishap when he was scratched from the Mackinnon Stakes after getting down in the barrier.
"It wasn’t the ideal preparation for him was it? But anyway he’s done a great job," Williams said.
"You just worry about his mind. I had the fingers crossed when he went into the barriers."
Shane Scriven described $3.30 favourite Scenic Shot’s effort to run fourth as "super".
"We were dealt to. I didn’t expect any favours and I certainly didn’t get any," Scriven said.
"He was very unlucky. He was the best horse getting to the line."
By Mark Ryan