Kirwan is in the fast lane to Big Dance

Coach John O’Shea has a date for The Big Dance at $2million after Kirwan’s Lane picked up a determined win at Hawkesbury on Saturday.

“We’re going to Scone now and hopefully we can do a Scone Cup double there and get into the big dance,” O’Shea said.

“We are really looking forward to this race on Melbourne Cup day.”

Kirwan’s Lane put himself in the frame of the first The Big Dance when he backed a long sprint and challenged his opponents to knock him down in the $200,000 Group 3 (1600m) Hawkesbury Gold Cup.

Apprentice star Tom Sherry continued his remarkable partnership with Kirwan’s Lane ($7) which scored with a length from the French import Hopeful ($21) with Atishu ($19) a close third.

Favorite Art Cadeau ($4.40) was wide but with cover for most of the race before coming in late to run fifth, beaten by nearly five lengths.

O’Shea said the Hawkesbury Gold Cup and the $200,000 (1,600m) Listed Scone Cup at Scone on May 13 were target races for Kirwan’s Lane this fall.

“Kirwan’s Lane has a great second record, loves a mile and loves Tom Sherry,” O’Shea said.

“I thought he would be at the finish (today) at least. I just felt we had to find the right part of the pitch and Tom did a great job of positioning him where he did. .

“I don’t think the horse was too comfortable in the ground, but he is doing well enough to get through.”

Sherry, who has won three races on Kirwan’s Lane this season, told O’Shea he came out on top too early on the straight.

“To be fair, there was nothing around you to take you anywhere,” O’Shea said.

“It was hard to catch up today and I was happy to be where you were.”

Sherry said Kirwan’s Lane jumped barriers well and placed well in his runs.

“He traveled well and up the straight, I thought it was only a matter of time before he let go,” he said.

“Maybe we got to the front too soon and he was hesitant to continue the job because he thought his job was done.

“But he responded very well to the pressure and he maintained a long run from the top of the straight, which was not easy today. It was a tough win.

Tom Sherry continued his strong association with Kirwan’s Lane. Photo: Jenny Evans-Getty Images

O’Shea also wanted to thank Ron Finemore, the owner of Kirwan’s Lane and a long-time stable customer.

“I’m so happy for Ron Finemore,” O’Shea said.

“He has some nice horses in the yard, but we’ve had a character building day so far.

“So it was good for him to get a good result with a nice horse.”

Kirwan’s Lane gave O’Shea his first Hawkesbury Gold Cup and the team a double on the scenic provincial track.

Berdibek won the Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury in the spring and finished an unlucky eighth behind stable mate Kirwan’s Lane in the distance race at the Hawkesbury Standalone meeting.

Coach Annabel Neasham might have unearthed another talented import with Hopeful running a blinder on her Australian debut to finish second.

Hopeful was a Group 3 winner in France of four races from 13 starts and had competed in races up to 3000m, but Neasham had trained the gelding to sprint fresh over the 1400m at Hawkesbury.

Ruby is now a very valuable mare

–Matt Jones

Exotic Ruby picked up a Group 3 victory after Saturday, but the top prize of $92,450 is nothing compared to what she is now worth off the track.

The Snitzel mare probably exceeded the expectations of her connections and bettors by winning the Hawkesbury crown with a chance of $26, but it secured her future.

Exotic Ruby was the 121st Snitzel winner.

His dam, Oriental Ruby, was a successful daughter of Winx’s sire, Street Cry, having placed in the WH Stocks Stakes in Melbourne.

“She is becoming a valuable mare now and she is entered for the Magic Millions Sales (May), said trainer Bjorn Baker.

“She was bought for $105,000 and we thought she might win a midweek race. She’s got a Group 3 now so it’s been a good day. Snitzel’s Group 3 winner, that’s good gig.

“She has a great pedigree and I can’t wait to have her foals. I will spend as much as I can on them.

Hawkesbury Cup Day

Exotic Ruby picked up a valuable victory in the Hawkesbury crown. Photo: Jenny Evans-Getty Images

Baker was probably the most confident of Exotic Ruby’s team heading into the race.

She ran third at Randwick first, which was obviously a good sign from a horse that has performed at Saturday level in the past, but the vast majority of her top three finishes come midweek. “She’s doing better than ever,” Baker said.

“I was very confident for the first time when she was $31 and she went really well.

“Her work has been great since then and she’s in great shape, which is what you need to be on these wet tracks right now.

“She always ran very well and I gave her a good chance today. I am delighted. She just kept dancing.

“She was good luck in every way. I thought she could make the top four, but the way she was working, I thought she had a chance of winning.

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