Junoob has completed an exceptional start-to-finish performance at Royal Randwick this afternoon, displaying an exceptional turn of foot in the final straight to win the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) from Criterion; Bagman running on for third.
Jumping from the gates well, Junoob immediately worked towards the fore of the field, sitting on the heels of early leaders Honorius before taking up the pace over the back straight and approaching the bend.
Noticeably picking up the pace rounding onto the final straight, the Haafhd gelding pulled clear of his closest rivals, never appearing in doubt and finding the line two lengths in the clear of a fast-finishing Criterion.
Jockey Blake Shinn secured his third race win for the day in partnering Junoob to victory in the 2014 Hill Stakes, revealing he was confident of success prior to jumping this afternoon.
“He’s a big, free-striding horse and he can be a bit lethargic from the gates, and there was a lack of tempo prior to the race and I just didn’t want to be on the back foot and get out the back and be no chance, so I just wanted to make sure that he stepped onto the right foot,” Shinn said following the Hill Stakes.
“He was never going to lose; he got into a great rhythm, quickened from the 600 and he’s had some form lines behind Streama last winter, so when he got a soft run he was always going to be hard to run down.”
Trainer Chris Waller, who also saddled Bagman and Moriarty in the 2014 Hill Stakes, was pleased with Junoob performance to take out the Group 2 event, laying the praise on Blake Shinn’s ride.
“As I’ve said the last few weeks it’s been hard to know where we’re at but you can’t panic and we’ve stuck to our plan,” Waller said following the race.
“Today we were going to know whether he’s come up or not and he needed those two runs of the heavy track to be fit enough for today.
“It helps to have a smart rider aboard who took the race by the neck I guess at the 1600m mark and lead.”
Securing a tenth win in a career which now spans 30 races when taking out the 2014 Hill Stakes, Junoob is currently featured in nominations for all of the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m), Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) this time in.
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2014 Hill Stakes Results
|1||3||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||–||3||59kg||$4|
|2||7||CRITERION (NZ)||David Payne||Corey Brown||1.8L||4||58kg||$5|
|3||2||BAGMAN||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||3.1L||5||59kg||$7|
|4||8||LA AMISTAD||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Kerrin McEvoy||3.6L||1||57kg||$7.50|
|5||5||HONORIUS||David Payne||Jeff Lloyd||3.7L||2||59kg||$19|
|6||1||MORIARTY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||3.8L||6||59kg||$2.80F|