The Chris Waller trained Royal Descent brilliantly won the $550,000, Group 1 Patinack Farm Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday making light work of a Heavy 10 track and leaving the field to their own devices with 400m to travel.
Royal Descent and Nash Rawiller win the Oaks, picture sportpix.com.au
Royal Descent, ridden by an almost incredulous Nash Rawiller after the race, came into the race only after concern from Waller over the possible conditions after rain had soaked Randwick from early morning right through to the fifth race of the programme.
However, owner and breeder Gerry Harvey gave approval for the filly to run and there was not a moments concern once she was on the track.
Rawiller settled her second last as the field went past the post for the first time while the New Zealand Oaks winner More Than Sacred and Leith Innes took up the running followed by Zuccotto and Blake Shinn.
Going down the back straight with 1600m to travel More Than Sacred led with a 1/2L to Zuccotto and 2L to Longport and Christian Reith. Rawiller was content to remain where he was down close to the rails.
The field compacted with 600m to run and Royal Descent had to go around a horse with She’s A Girl compounding quickly. When Rawiller decided to go forward with 500m to run Royal Descent made up ground so quickly racing on the inside of the field that they were leading with 400m to run before they had even straightened for the run up the hill.
With the field under immediate pressure Royal Descent strode up the hill with a 3L margin and from that point the filly strode away with an ever increasing margin. Rawiller checked with the infield broadcast screen and it needed to be the largest outdoor screen in the Southern Hemisphere to take in the final winning margin of 10L
Dear Demi (Dehere) and Jim Cassidy came late for second with Gonokoro (NZ) (Zabeel) and Rhys McLeod third, the margin 2L. Habibi (NZ) was fourth and Longport fifth.
The time was 2.34.19 with the final 600m in 37.24. Royal Descent paid $3.50 on NSW TAB.
Nash Rawiller returns on Royal Descent, picture sportpix.com.au
“Even today I spoke to Claire Bird and Gerry Harvey several times and we made the decision basically at one o’clock that we were going to run,” said Waller.
“My only instructions to Nash were if she wasn’t going to be in a winning position, don’t knock her about because she is a really good horse and she’ll be there for next year but she has shown she has done it this year.”
“I knew we had a very good horse some time ago but as you do with horses you can lose your way.”
“We had a plan to win the Vinery three weeks ago and Gerry helped me with that plan and he was very proud of it.
“It is great to have owners like him. That was the plan to get to the Vinery. It did not work out because the tracks were wet hence the reason for questioning whether we run today.
“A lot of horses do not even get there after a few preparations so it is magic and I am excited about her future,” he said.
“I am a bit lost for words. Chris has known for a long time he has had something pretty special,” said Rawiller.
“I thought the other day was a momentous effort and I thought it was definitely worth having a crack at this race.
“She has gone beyond all expectations today with what she did.
“I am still blown away by it. I snuck a peek at the 250m and I was home. It was just so exciting.
Royal Descent, picture sportpix.com.au
“She never put a foot out of place in the ground which certainly helped and it probably made me take shortcuts for that reason as with the way she travelled I knew she would get through.
“She did the rest and which was an unbelievable effort,” he said.
Royal Descent backed up from an impressive win in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes over 2000m last Saturday and has obviously thrived since. This was her fourth win from seven starts and delivered her sire Redoute’s Choice his 22nd Group 1 winner.
Out of the Kaapstad mare Mulan Princess she has also added further black type to her family that includes Golden Sword, Greta Hall and Falkirk. She has earned stakes of $554,530.
The win was not a record Group 1 winning margin with Might And Power (NZ) winning the Queen Elizabeth Stakes by 10 1/2L, but it was still an impressive Oaks win.
With second placed Dear Demi being a home-bred for John Singleton the great friendly rivalry between Harvey and Singleton continued with bragging rights with Harvey for the day.
“I think that will be better than anything else for Mr Harvey. There is a great rivalry there and that is part of the theatre of racing,” said Waller.
“Well done to both of them, they are great contributors.”
Race 7, photofinish ATC