Progressive filly Royal Descent proved successful in rewriting the history books at Randwick on Saturday when becoming the first filly to carry 59kg to victory in the $125,000, Tabcorp Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m).
Royal Descent in full flight in the Adrian Knox Stakes, picture sportpix.com.au
Having surpassed Full Of Spirit’s record last year of carrying 57.5kg to victory the daughter of Redoute's Choice trained by Chris Waller proved far too good for her rivals when drawing away to score comfortably by 2 1/2L.
“With 59kgs it is never easy and when you are taking on listed-type horses it’s really hard. Credit to Nash he used his draw to his advantage and left a bit in the tank which is good when you have that weight to carry,” Waller said.
Stepping out at just her sixth career start, Royal Descent proved successful in living up to her early promise with Waller claiming he was confident she was going to be a Group class galloper right from the beginning of her career.
“It is very important to win black-type races especially for people like Gerry Harvey. They put a lot into the game and wins like this keep spurring them along. She’s a straight forward filly to train, an absolute beauty,” he said.
While she is bred to handle the step up to 2400m for the Group 1 ATC Oaks, Waller is yet to confirm whether or not she will line up in the staying feature.
“I’m going to have to talk to the boss and the Harvey team to see what they say. It’s their decision,” Waller said.
“They have a very nice filly on their hands and if she does not go on this prep they have a lot to look forward to in the Spring.”
Ridden patiently off the speed by Nash Rawiller he felt she was always travelling beautifully in the run and was confident a long way from home.
Rawiller was behind a wall of horses at the top of the straight with Royal Descent under wraps. A gap opened on the rails and Rawiller sent the filly forward and she produced a turn of foot that put paid to the field in short order despite her large weight.
Royal Descent went to the line strongly to suggest that the additional distance of the Oaks will not trouble her.
Express Power (Snitzel) (54kg) and Jim Cassidy were second with Hold Me Tight (Refuse To Bend) (55.5kg) and James McDonald third, the margin 3/4L.
The time was 2.04.01 on the Dead 5 track with the final 600m in 36.19. Royal Descent paid $4.50 on NSW TAB.
“She gave me a beautiful ride throughout the run and probably travelled like the winner the whole race.”
While still up in the air whether or not she will back up into the Oaks, Rawiller was confident she would come through this afternoon’s effort in good shape.
“She just seemed to take no ill-effect from the run,” Rawiller said.
“She basically had a bit of a track gallop early and obviously pinged home. She was strong over the last 400m and gave me no indication that she was about to train off.
“I’m not sure what Chris is going to. He was talking about putting her out but on today’s win I’d be happy looking at the Oaks.”
Royal Descent is $26 into $9 to take out the $550,000, Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) next Saturday.
The other big firmer to come out of the race is Express Power who is $51 into $26. Habibi (NZ) still commands favouritism at $3.50 ahead of Dear Demi, $4.50, with Longport joining Royal Descent on the third line of betting.
Royal Descent, out of the Kaapstad mare Mulan Princess, is her sire's 104th stakeswinner and 18th stakeswinner this season. Bred and owned by Harvey she has raced just six times and won three and placed in two and earned stakes of $223,730.