Chris Waller went past 300 winners for the season with winning trebles at Rosehill and Eagle Farm and seven winners in total on Saturday and also had an insight into the future with two-year-olds Osipenko and Political Debate.
D-Day for So You Think colt Political Debate will come in seven days in the JJ Atkins after he hung on to win The Phoenix (1500m) at Eagle Farm and become favourite for next week’s group 1 for two-year-olds.
James McDonald was never closer than three from the fence, but Political Debate ($2. 20) had the class to win narrowly from a charging Sharp ‘N’ Smart ($5. 50).
Nothing really went right in the run. He copped a bit of interference early, said McDonald, who rode all three of Waller’s Brisbane winners.
We ended up in a nice enough spot but not the spot I wanted to be in, to be fair, and he was left in front a long way from home, so that was a jockey error.
I think just with that experience he’ll come on again, and he’s a beautiful horse with plenty of upside.
McDonald said stepping up to 1600m in the JJ Atkins would not be a concern.
I would have loved to teach him a bit more today, because obviously in a weeks’ time, that is when we want him firing, but he did a good job, he said.
Osipenko ($14) might be one for the spring after trounced his two-year-old rivals on debut over 1300m at Rosehill earlier in the day.
He’s the perfect Pierro type, he’s got a lovely big stride, jockey Josh Parr said. He’s got a good attitude, albeit a little bit green today, but he could make the grade.
It was a good start to the day, and the premier stable added the feature Winter Cup (2400m) with Irish Sequel ($9. 50), which was too strong for stablemate Bonny Ezra ($5. 50) and Alakahan ($5. 50).
He’s a good staying prospect, bar his last start, jockey Jay Ford said. He’s been very consistent all preparation. So it was a good breakthrough for him back in form, and he just kept grinding away at them and was strong late.
Pike uses Gypsy Goddess’s class to win Oaks
Willie Pike repaid the faith of connections of Gypsy Goddess ($4. 40 fav) when he used the Tarzino filly’s gears to win the Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm on Saturday with a sweeping run that left no doubt over the best staying filly in the country.
Pike went back from barrier 22 and found himself one off the fence before taking off at the 800m mark from near tail before hitting the front 200m from home.
She had a bit on this field today. I rode her accordingly, but I still got there a bit early. That was ‘Plan B’ for sure, Pike said after winning the Oaks by a length from Barb Raider ($5).
Trainer David Vandyke said Gypsy Goddess was one of the toughest fillies he had trained after backing up from placings in the Vinery Stud Stakes and Australian Oaks in the autumn.
She’s had a hard journey. She’s raced up here, she went down [to Sydney] on the heavy tracks, came back up, he said. I said to the boys a couple of weeks ago, ‘if it was any other horse, we’d probably turn her out’.
But we just gave her every chance to get here. She bounced back well this last week. Willie probably wished he waited another furlong. She just rounded them up and went to the front, and I thought he might’ve gone too soon.
Collett back with a city win on Niffler
It took a month but Jason Collett was back in the winner’s circle in Sydney with a perfectly judged ride on the Chris Waller-trained Niffler ($3. 20) at Rosehill on Saturday.
The former Kiwi hoop had been on track for the best season of career when he fell and broke his collarbone at a midweek meeting at Warwick Farm during the autumn after riding Lighthouse and Montefilia to group 1 success on consecutive Saturdays.
I have been riding winners everywhere but town, Collett said. It’s good to get that one way and I feel like I’m back now.
She was a bit slow to jump but got into a great spot. I was feeling confident a long way, and she just did the rest.
Unbeaten Willinga Rufio one to follow
Mark Newnham might chase another BOBs bonus with the unbeaten Willinga Rufio before putting the promising stayer away for a spring campaign.
The Dundeel three-year-old took the step up from a Hawkesbury maiden to Saturday grade with some ease at Rosehill after leading apprentice Tyler Schiller controlled the race from the front.
Really dominant win, Newnham said. What was really good to see was how strong he was even from the furlong home, so quite a promising horse.
It was nice that he got into a good rhythm and I’ve said to him [Schiller] that one area he’s needed to improve is being in front, and he did that really well today.
Horse and jockey, big tick for both.
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