Courageous Saint Emilion surprises Allpress

The grey Saint Emilion (Lisa Allpress) and Who Dares Wins are locked in battle in today’s Coca-Cola Canterbury Gold Cup at Riccarton.

Lisa Allpress was both surprised and full of praise for Saint Emilion after the Cambridge warhorse fought back to score in a thrilling finish to the Gr.3 Coca-Cola Canterbury Gold Cup at Riccarton today.

After leading from the outset, the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Saint Emilion was headed early in the run home by Who Dares Wins and looked set to settle for second placing.

But then inside the final 50 metres he came back determinedly at Who Dares Wins and the pair went to the finish of the $100,000 feature locked in a titanic battle.

Sam Wynne, aboard Who Dares Win, felt she had won when raising her whip in triumph after the post, but then doubt crept in as she looked across at Allpress and asked who she thought had won.

“Sam was going off and I sat there,” Allpress said. “I didn’t think I’d got there.

“I knew he was coming back, but the other horse had a neck on me and I didn’t think we’d got up in time.”

But the photo-finish went the way of Saint Emilion by a nose, giving the six-year-old win number 14 in his career, which includes Group One success two starts earlier in the Bonecrusher NZ Stakes at Ellerslie.

“He’s very tough and he wasn’t going to give in,” Allpress said. “It was a hard ride and at first I would have been happy for a deadheat, but a win is better.”

Allpress was having her first ride on the son of Mastercraftsman and had plotted where she wanted to be on the track in the home straight.

“There was a nice strip of grass just off the fence, but he wandered off it into the straight and the other horse (Who Dares Wins) came through on it,” she said. “I had purposely stayed off the fence and I wanted to get back on that strip. When he did get back on it he came back at the other horse.

“It’s great to ride another winner for the stable. I’ve ridden some good winners for Murray over the years.

“In fact, my first stakeswinner was for Murray on Mynzawine at Hawera (in the Gr.3 Fayette Park Stakes).”

Allpress has also won a couple of Group Ones for Baker, the 2010 Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham on We Can Say It Now and the 2016 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes on Luna Rossa.

Saint Emilion went more than a year without success after winning the Gr.3 OMF Stakes at Ellerslie in November 2016.

He ended that losing streak when scoring fresh-up over 1400 metres a couple of months ago and has now won three of his last four starts.