The Anthony Freedman trained Santa Ana Lane has...
Imported stayer Junoob overcame a heavy Rosehill Gardens track to score a brave win in the 2014 Neville Sellwood Stakes and press his claims to be entered in the 2014 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick on April 19.
Junoob drifted in betting after the Rosehill Gardens track was downgraded to a heavy eight overnight and looked as though he was going to finish towards the tail of the field when Entirely Platinum shot clear at the 400 metre mark.
The Haafhd gelding was able to fight back and worked home strongly in the final stages of the race to score a narrow win from Hippopus and Lucky Lago, with Entirely Platinum and Moriarty tiring to finish fourth and fifth.
Trainer Chris Waller admitted that he thought Junoob would struggle to perform on the wet Rosehill Gardens surface and was delighted with the way the six-year-old was able to tough out his third win from his past four starts.
“I wasn’t shaking my head, but I said to myself what did you run him for at the 400,” Waller said after the race.
“I thought he was going to battle away and to see him fight like that is pretty credible.
“He obviously has untapped ability and we are seeing a little bit more each and every start.”
Waller has been hesitant to step Junoob up to Group 1 level during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, electing to run him in the Neville Sellwood Stakes rather than The BMW, but said after the race that the imported galloper was a chance to contest the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 19.
“We will have a look at the weather,” Waller said.
“One thing that I have noticed with The Championships and the prizemoney boost is that it has really gotten owners interested and it is pretty hard to tell them that I don’t think they should run in a $4 million race.
“He would be a chance of going to the Queen Elizabeth if we really thought he was a legitimate chance.”
Jockey Blake Shinn was riding Junoob for the first time in the 2014 Neville Sellwood Stakes and he admitted that he was struggling when the tough gelding failed to respond to heavy riding at the top of the straight.
Shinn was quick to pay credit to the mental toughness of Junoob and he believes that potential Queen Elizabeth Stakes contender will be ever better on a firm track.
“He got into a great position and where we wanted to be, but I was really struggling and hard at work at the top of the straight,” Shinn said.
“It is a testament to this horses ability and his courage to pick himself off the canvas and really lift and chance down a really nice horse.”
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2014 Neville Sellwood Stakes Results
|1||6||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||–||4||55kg||$4.40|
|2||11||HIPPOPUS (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||0.2L||10||55kg||$51|
|3||13||LUCKY LAGO||John O’Shea||Glen Boss||0.7L||9||53kg||$17|
|4||4||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James McDonald||1L||8||55.5kg||$3.50F|
|5||1||MORIARTY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||2.5L||1||56.5kg||$3.70|
|6||7||MALUCKYDAY (NZ)||Joseph Pride||Damian Browne||4.1L||6||55kg||$17|
|7||8||LESS IS MORE (FR)||David Vandyke||Jay Ford||5.2L||2||55kg||$26|
|8||9||SPILLWAY (GB)||David Hayes||Craig Williams||5.3L||5||55kg||$26|
|9||10||DISCLAIMER (GB)||John O’Shea||Kerrin McEvoy||7.7L||3||55kg||$26|
|10||5||WINNING GLORY (NZ)||David Payne||Jason Collett||12.1L||11||55.5kg||$61|
|11||3||JULIENAS (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||17.9L||7||55.5kg||$10|
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