Terrible conditions greeted the field for the Group 2 Apollo Stakes but the Paul Murray-trained Alma’s Fury stood tallest in the gloom to claim the Warwick Farm feature.
Heavy rain fell throughout the running of the $250,000 race, cutting visibility dramatically but the son of Refuse To Bend handled the deteriorating track well enough to score under the guidance of jockey Blake Shinn.
Alma’s Fury started from gate 11 in the 12-horse field but Shinn was content to follow a path well off the fence for the entire race, giving his mount time to settle midfield before the five-year-old worked forward from the 600 metres.
Alma’s Fury and New Zealand Group 1 winner Tougher Than Ever hit the front together at the 350 metres before taking the entire straight to decide the event.
Alma’s Fury got the upper hand on his three-year-old rival a few strides out from the post to score his second stakes win after claiming the Listed Bernborough Handicap (1600m) in Brisbane in December last year.
"He travelled like the winner a long way out," he said. "I kept him out of trouble on the fresh ground and he did the rest."
Murray said Alma’s Fury’s wet track form gave him little chance of winning the race he had earmarked as the perfect tune-up for the National Sprint in Canberra next month.
"I can't believe it. I'm dumbfounded," Murray said. "He's never liked the wet but he needed to run today because he is going to the National Sprint.
"He was a fit horse going into it while a lot of the others were stayers first-up. But even so, I could never have dreamed he would win."
The Apollo Stakes success was Alma’s Fury’s sixth from 30 starts while the $150,000 first prizemoney took his earnings to more than $510,000.
Congratulations to Alma’s Fury’s owners – Meringo Stud Synd (Mgr: T Hartnell), Kern Group Horse Syndicates Pty Ltd Synd (Mgr: G Kern), R Lavis, D W Kern, J E Kern & Mrs M Nugent.
© MiStable 2013