Kerrin McEvoy times run to perfection on Rapture Miss in Country Classic

Nov 24, 2018

AS Rapture Miss cruised up to join the leaders at the top of the straight, champion jockey Kerrin McEvoy had the words of trainer Matthew Dale ringing in his ears.

“Matty said I needed to time my run just right on the mare because she can clock off when she gets to the front,’’ McEvoy said. “I wanted D’Beak to take me into the race a bit further than it did but I waited for as long as I could before pressing the button.’’

McEvoy did get the timing just right as Rapture Miss bounded away to score an impressive win in the $125,000 Country Classic (2000m).

Favourite backers didn’t have much to worry about as Rapture Miss ($4.40) dominated the race, scoring by 1¼ lengths from Charlie Royale ($51) with D’Beak ($11) holding on for a close third.

Dale was at Canberra on Saturday but spoke to The Sunday Telegraph after the race where he praised McEvoy’s tactical nous.

“Rapture Miss is a bit of a thinker when she gets to the front,’’ Dale said. “Kerrin kept her under a tight rein for as long as he could, which he needed to do. He rode her perfectly under the circumstances.’’

McEvoy said Rapture Miss “pinged out of the gates” and settled up on the speed early in the race.

“She probably settled closer than Matty and I thought,’’ he said. “But we agreed this was a race where we could be a little bit positive and get out of the ruck if we can.

“She got herself into a nice spot and fortunately we found some cover. It looked her race as she got in with a light weight. This has been a well-executed plan by Matty.’’

Dale said he wanted to give Rapture Miss another race over 2000m before he considers stretching her out over further.

The Country Classic was some spectacle with a capacity field of 18 thundering up the Rosehill straight. McEvoy is a fan of the concept, and it is not simply because he has won successive runnings of the country-trained only race after he scored on Miss Dubois last year.

“This is a great concept as it brings a lot of country owners to the city for the race,’’ McEvoy said. “It can only be good for the game, good for everyone – it’s a good initiative.’’