Lloyd keeps his cool as Cindy collects Dark Jewel Classic

A composed ride from Zac Lloyd has helped Fall For Cindy post an invaluable Group Three win, the star apprentice keeping his cool despite having to throw the script out the window shortly after the start.

Lloyd had hoped to settle the John O’Shea-trained mare in the first half of the field and off the fence, which had been a no-go zone for much of the day.

However, he instead found himself worse than midfield and on the rail, forcing Lloyd to come up with a Plan B.

“The first half of the race did not go to plan whatsoever,” Lloyd said.

“I was trying to be a bit closer in the run and stay off the fence.

“All I could focus on was getting her to relax where she was. I just had to trust her.

“She obviously put in a good performance last start, and she quickened really well today.”

Fall For Cindy ($8.50) dead-heated for first with Rise Of The Masses at Hawkesbury last start but she was able to put a clear margin on her nearest rival in Saturday’s Dark Jewel Classic (1400m), scoring by 1-1/4 lengths over Banana Queen ($6.50) with Shadows Of Love ($3.90 fav) running her usual honest race for third.

It was a first stakes win for the daughter of Sacred Falls, who is raced by Waikato Stud’s Garry Chittick.

O’Shea stable representative Tom Charlton said Fall For Cindy had made tremendous progress over the past year and was open to further improvement.

“It’s one of Garry’s mares and her value has, I’d say, doubled just then,” Charlton said.

“She has progressed so well over the past season. She’s a mare that is happy, racing well and very content.

“She handles those (soft) conditions well and I think she is only just finding her straps.”

Fall For Cindy gave Lloyd a feature race double on the program after he earlier took out the Listed Denise’s Joy Stakes (1100m) aboard Godolphin filly Commemorative.

Regan Bayliss got the spoils aboard comeback galloper Coastwatch ($21) in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m), the 2021 Golden Rose placegetter clinging to a short-head win over the fast-finishing Amenable.

Coastwatch spent two years on the sidelines through injury and was having his fourth run back for Richard and Will Freedman, the latter unsurprised by the gelding’s return to the winner’s list following his game fourth behind Fall For Cindy and Rise Of The Masses at Hawkesbury.

“He rated really well his last race, so I was surprised he was drifting in the market,” Will Freedman said.

“Hopefully he can go on to some more races up in Queensland, but for a horse that was off for two years to come back and to win a race like this is pretty special.”

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