A delighted Gary Moore greets Classic Uniform and Tim Clark as they return to scale (Lisa Grimm)
The $10 million TAB Everest – the world’s richest race on turf – was always going to be a tough act to follow.
Think beer chaser with a glass of Grange, or a truffle entree leading into a plate of well-past-its-use-by-date Meat Loaf (AFL grand final appearances included).
Fortunately for the Group Three Aqualand Craven Plate over 2000m at Royal Randwick – the race immediately following the Everest – it had Classic Uniform and his popular trainer, Gary Moore to pick up any lag.
If anyone can keep the bubbles flowing, it’s Gary Moore.
Since the Champion international jockey, turned Champion trainer took up residence at Rosehill in 2014, Moore has put a whole new slant on exuberance following each feature race victory. They’re not all Group Ones, but the celebrations – running onto the track and hugging his horse – are definitely of Group One calibre.
It was more of the same immediately following the Craven Plate, with Moore whooping it up in front of what was still a large Randwick crowd.
They needed the diversion: Classic Uniform – despite being fresh from a Group Two Hill Stakes win two weeks ago – was only regarded a $21 pick in the Craven Plate, yet was always looking solid bowling along at the head of the pack.
The expectation was though that raging hot favourite, Happy Clapper, who won the Group One Epsom Handicap on 30 September and gave Winx a fright a fortnight earlier, would catch Classic Uniform before the wire.
It was not to be though and Happy Clapper failed by a neck, becoming the 16th punters’ pick from 20 races in Sydney and Melbourne to have his colours lowered.
But what a day of racing and one that Gary Moore would like more of.
“What a great horse he (Classic Uniform) is … very brave … big heart,” a still much enthused, Moore, said on Sunday.
“It’s always wonderful to win a feature race – especially on such a big day – and he’s now won nearly a million dollars for his owner Mr Li (Glenvallen Investments).”
Appearing first as an autumn 2YO, Classic Uniform has since won seven races and placed on 16 further occasions from 36 outings, including victories in the Hill Stakes and Listed Parramatta Cup.
Offered by his breeder, Emirates Park, at the 2014 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Classic Uniform was knocked down to Glenvallen Investments for $170,000.
A son of the Australian Guineas winning Danehill stallion, Al Maher (33 stakes winners), Classic Uniform is out of the Canny Lad mare, Pyrotechnics, in turn a half sister to dual Group One winning sprinter, Sports, Group winner, Medals, and a full sister to Group Two Silver Shadow winner, Seika (dam of stakes winners Clothilde and Delano).
“Mr Li has been a tremendous supporter of the stable,” Moore adds. “He is involved in the textile industry and based in Hong Kong, but has raced horses in Australia for many years, a lot of them with Gai Waterhouse.
“He was one of the founding owners for my brother John (Champion Hong Kong trainer) and when I set up at Rosehill, he sent horses – including Classic Uniform – my way. I’ve currently got seven in work for Mr Li.”
Moore is now poised to bring his merrymaking to Melbourne with Classic Uniform next likely to go around in the Group Two Moonee Valley Gold Cup over 2500m on 28 October.
“Moonee Valley should suit his style of racing and even though its 500m longer than the Craven Plate, Tim (Clark) tells me there was still a lot of horse in hand at the end of 2000m on Saturday and with eight runs this time in, he’s super fit.”
Last year the Moonee Valley Gold Cup was the lead up to the main event and while nothing is likely to take the focus from Winx’s attempt to smash a third Cox Plate, expect to see Moore of the same if Classic Uniform grabs the Gold.