The Jamie Kah juggernaut rolled into Sydney for Day 1 of The Championship and lived right up to expectations by winning one of the major features on the Australian racing calendar in the form of the $3,000,000, Group 1, The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick.
Partnered by Godolphin with the high-class European import Cascadian (GB) (by New Approach), the biggest hit in Victorian racing in more recent time left her giant footprint on one of Sydney’s biggest race days of the year by winning a time honoured contest close to heart of every racing enthusiast in the country.
In a typically competitive renewal of the celebrated mile, this year’s outcome came down to the very final few strides of the contest and it was Kah who once again delivered the knock-out blow … just as she has virtually on every Melbourne metropolitan program since the beginning of the current racing season.
Produced by Kah for his finishing effort halfway down the Randwick straight, Cascadian gave every ounce of effort the flashy chestnut gelding could muster under the phenomenal female rider to score the narrowest of victories literally right on the line.
Finishing a desperately unlucky runner-up close to the fence was the bonny racemare Icebath (NZ) (by Sacred Falls). A late addition to the final field as the first emergency, the Brad Widdup trained 4-year-old burst to the front with just 100 metres to negotiate and was only just caught in the very shadows of the post.
Third home was South Australian invader Dalasan (by Dalakhani), finishing just one length adrift of the winner, with top-weight Mugatoo (Ire) finishing a close-up fourth.
Fifth home was Avilius (GB), finishing more than three lengths adrift of the winner.
Jamie Kah and Cascadian land a last stride Doncaster victory, picture sportpix.com.au
Despite all of the success Kah has enjoyed for an extended period of time, the first lady of the domestic riding ranks was almost overawed by her maiden Sydney Group 1 success.
“I am a bit speechless to be honest,” claimed Kah immediate after her historic success.
“I was talking to Hughie [Bowman] in the gates and said ‘I’m going to follow you; I hope you win but if you don’t, I am going to win’.
“We got a beautiful run. Everything just opened up at the right time for him. He probably waited a little bit on the line; that is why I wasn’t sure if I had got it or not.
“But he stuck his nose out … and I couldn’t be happier.”
Winning trainer James Cummings had far more to say on the matter and began by acknowledging all the assistance he’d received, before commenting on the unique talent that Jamie Kah is.
“The team have done a magnificent job to get this horse nice and lean,” Cummings began.
“To Liam O’Rourke and to all the guys really behind the scenes, in what is a magnificent blue army on days like this, we’ve got to be so grateful.
“When horses can come off the plane of his calibre, we know that we’re cooking with gas. While he hasn’t won a heap of races since he’s been here, we’ve worked out a few things with him. We just mucked around with him a bit this preparation. Twelve months ago he was winning a Doncaster Prelude, and now he’s got up and won the Doncaster.
“I’m really lost for words how remarkable it is to have this horse finally get up and win one of these big grand finals.”
In reference to Jamie Kah, Cummings said in part: “We were very, very keen to try and book her for a lightweight ride in the Doncaster and we had a few circling.
“Once Cascadian come [sic] through the George Ryder with such a brilliant fourth and we got the opportunity to drop back in weight, Jamie’s team were very happy to ride him.
“It didn’t rely on me to make much of a point to her, she was very keen to be on him and she had the right plan. She thought about the race exactly the way we did and that’s put us in the frame.”
Asked about recording a Group 1 double on the day, Cummings answered: “A couple of years ago we won the Slipper and the Ranvet on the same day. But for Anamoe to convert [in the Sires], and for the Doncaster trophy to come back to Godolphin, it’s fantastic.
“We had had a lean trot. We had a run of outs the last two weeks, but it felt like it was our turn this weekend. Our horses were perfect and the guys have worked very, very hard.”
Kah and Cascadian won by a Head, with Icebath finishing Three-quarters of a length ahead of Dalasan.
SPs on the Doncaster were Cascadian $8.00, Icebath $21.00, and Dalasan $31.00.
Winning time was 1m36.36s (last 600m 36.14s).
Cascadian commenced his racing career in France with the legendary Andre Fabre, for whom he finished a very noteworthy runner-up in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at just his fifth race start.
The 6-year-old gelding’s race record now reads six 1sts, four 2nds and three 3rds for earnings of $2,924,200 following 25 career starts.
What the beaten jockeys said:
Hugh Bowman (Mugatoo): “Every chance.”
James McDonald (Avilius): “He went great. Just looking for a bit of rain.”
Josh Parr (Samadoubt): “Did nothing from a good position.”
Sam Clipperton (Star Of The Seas): “He ran well but just not showing the zip he had.”
Tommy Berry (Olmedo): “Too keen.”
Tim Clark (Shout The Bar): “Just not up to it today.”
Regan Bayliss (Zaaki): “He’s got a serious G1 win in Australia. If he draws a barrier I think he goes close to winning that race.”
Kerrin McEvoy (Aegon): “Checkered passage up the running.”
Jason Holder (Dalasan): “Ran super. He got to the front but the challengers came. He’s gone down but tried really hard.”
Craig Williams (Funstar): “She didn’t have any favours from the outside barrier but for a horse of her quality she didn’t take me into the straight. Be interesting to see how she pulls up.”
Rachel King (Best Of Days): “Just not good enough.”
James Innes (Rock): “We were inside the winner. He travelled into it beautifully but just doesn’t sprint on that surface.”
Michael Poy (Nettoyer): No comment
Michael Dee (Yao Dash): “Might be feeling a little bit tired now.”
Robbie Dolan (Mo’unga): “He’s gotten home good. Just a strong run event and he was further back than he needed to be. But he got home well.”
Dean Yendall (Forbidden Love): “Ran enormous. She didn’t go enormous, she went well enough for her. Looking for the paddock.”
Jay Ford (Icebath): “Ran was super. Had a good run in transit and when she took the split I thought she was home. Winner was too good.”
Alysha Collett (Wheelhouse): “Didn’t have much luck from the barrier but it was a really tough run.”
Doncaster Mile, photo finish picture ATC