Chris Waller is normally pretty emotional after a big win, but on what was probably the biggest day of his training career, he held it together on what was already the wettest day that the Randwick track has seen in years.
Tommy Berry celebrates as Sacred Falls wins the Doncaster, picture sportpix.com.au
After winning the JRA Plate with his Melbourne Cup placegetter, Kelinni, Waller saddled up Royal Descent who dominated the Group 1 ATC Oaks then it was the recent edition to his stable, Sacred Falls (NZ) who gave him a group 1 double when he won the $2,000,000 Group 1 BMW Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Sacred Falls was $18.50 with TAB.com.au mostly because it was hard to tell what being beaten over six lengths into second by It’s A Dundeel (NZ) in the Rosehill Guineas actually meant. It is now clear that It’s A Dundeel is a phenomenal galloper and running second to him is good enough form to win a Doncaster.
Ridden by jockey of the moment, Tommy Berry, Sacred Falls sat second last in the run, eight lengths behind race leaders Monton (Reith) and Norzita (NZ) (Williams).
Little changed in the run until approaching the home turn, but after Glass Harmonium (IRE) (Arnold) moved forward it left Sacred Falls in last position so Berry stayed toward the inside and went in search of runs.
Fortunately for connections a run opened up shortly after straightening as the majority of the field fanned wide. Within 50m Sacred Falls had got within a length of the favourite, Pierro (Rawiller), who was running a similar line.
Over the final furlong and a half it was three three-year-olds who cleared out from the field. Norzita kept fighting in the lead before being joined by Pierro and Sacred Falls toward the line.
With 100m to go Sacred Falls got the better of Pierro who had only just reined in Norzita and it was in those positions that they would stay all the way to the line, with Sacred Falls adding the Group 1 Doncaster Mile to his Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas success last preparation.
Officially the margins between the three were three quarters by three quarters. The overall time was 1.37.99 with the last 600m run in 35.57.
Chris Waller and Tommy Berry, picture sportpix.com.au
“It is racing at its finest. You can’t describe it, you can’t prepare for it and it is an amazing feeling,” Waller said. “We’ve had a lot of rain and we are running a Doncaster and the good horses are winning.
“I think from having those previous Doncaster Mile winners it gives you the confidence to say you can do it.
“Nothing went right in his early preparation. First up he didn’t handle the wet track. We scratched him second up because of a wet track and so his second up run was over a mile and he got shunted off the track which left us in no mans land.
“Third up in a tough 2000m behind It’s A Dundeel I knew then I had him where I needed him to be so I just backed off him and freshened him up.
“Well done to (the owners). They’re getting some amazing results. They had Shamrocker, the Oaks winner in New Zealand and they’ve been with me for some time just growing and they’ve come to this level, it’s amazing.
“Waikato Stud bought into the horse too so well done to them to have any insight, they’ve got a nice colt.”
“I go out a Group 1 winner with Chris and hopefully I can get a bit of support when I get back,” Berry said.
“The two races you want to win, the Golden Slipper and the Doncaster and I did both in the one season.
“It seems a little bit sad going to Hong Kong now but it is only two-and-a-half months until I will be back and I am sure I will come back a better rider.
“I have to thank Chris. He hasn’t put me on a heap but he can really find a rider on the way up and put a lot of confidence into me.
“He said that the horse was fit and ready to win and he did just that.
“He got chopped out at the start so I was a little bit further back than I wanted to be but he always felt like the winner in the run and when Nash went for Pierro I was very happy to see that because I was still on the bit.
“It is a great training performance by Chris and thanks to the owners and everyone for their support.”
Sacred Falls, picture sportpix.com.au
Sacred Falls is by O’Reilly (NZ) out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Iguazu’s Girl (NZ) and is owned by Raffles Thoroughbred Racing Syndicate (Mgr: K T Yap), K S Yap & G J Chittick. Her record now stands at seven wins from 10 starts and prizemoney totalling $1,613,437.
Photofinish, by ATC