A decision to back Saigon Tea up seven days after a win at Rosehill last weekend worked a treat with the Chris Waller-trained mare relishing a Soft Randwick track to win the Christmas Cup 2014 on Saturday.
The weekend before the Thorn Park five-year-old enjoyed a nearly two length win thanks to a quick final dash on a rain-affected track at Sydney’s other major racecourse.
Waller then didn’t have the $100,000 Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) in mind, but made a late call to put her on the seven day back-up after more heavy rain fell around the capital over the week – Saigon Tea having won three form four on Heavy going and three from five on Soft tracks.
“When the rain came down on Sunday and Monday, I started to think about it,” Waller said on Saturday.
“It definitely played a major part in her racing here today.
“She didn’t lose any weight and she is a 2400-metre horse so she was fit enough to have a quiet week.”
It had been a controversial week for Waller who was fined $30,000 and had the Group 1 The Metropolitan win stripped from his galloper Junoob who tested positive to a banned anti-bleeding medication.
Things ended on a high however with the country’s most successful Group 1 trainer over the past 12 months enjoying a winning treble in the opening three races on Saturday.
“It has been a tough week,” he told the media after the Christmas Cup win.
“But the only thing to do is get back on with things.
“Going back to work on Friday morning, I was a changed person. It’s unbearable to go through that, but we’re pretty resilient and we’re bouncing back quickly.”
Saigon Tea ($2.50F) won over 1800m last weekend but handled the step back up to the mile and a half without a worry, running home well to defeat the John O’Shea-trained Terai ($5) by a short-neck while Peter Moody’s Metaphorical ($3.70) crossed a distant third eight and a half lengths off the winner.
“From a punting perspective, she got beat the first time she tried [at 2400m] when she ran second and I can clearly remember that she wasn’t set for that race,” Waller said.
“At her second try she won and once they get there they seem to do it again without any trouble.”
Jockey Glyn Schofield gave the Christmas Cup winner the perfect run from barrier four, easing her forward from the back of the pack at the right time to run clear of her six rivals and hold off a challenge from the fast-finishing Terai.
It was her maiden black type win after Waller opted not to continue on with plans during the spring to run her in the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes at Flemington last month.
“She’s a great horse. Looking at her, you wouldn’t know she’s capable of winning a listed race,” Waller said.
Waller’s earlier winners on the Randwick card were Dupe ‘Em in the $85,000 TAB.Com.Au Handicap (1100m) and Beyond Thankful in the $85,000 Alconex Fire Handicap (2000m) – a brilliant start to the day that surprised him.
“You don’t think like that. You probably think of the worse in racing as a trainer,” he said.
“You do everything to make things happen and some days it works out well but it doesn’t happen that often, even with a big stable like ours.”
See below for the full Christmas Cup 2014 results, then visit Ladbrokes.com.au to lock in your next Sydney Summer Racing Carnival punt at the best price at the bookie that does betting better!
2014 Christmas Cup Results
Randwick Race 3 – 13/12/2014
|1||3||SAIGON TEA (NZ)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||–||4||54kg||$2.50F|
|2||7||TERAI||John O’Shea||James McDonald||0.2L||6||54kg||$5|
|3||2||METAPHORICAL||Peter G Moody||Kerrin McEvoy||8.5L||1||54.5kg||$3.70|
|4||6||LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY||Steve Englebrecht||Sam Clipperton||10.6L||2||54kg||$8|
|5||5||PLANET PURPLE||Kerry Parker||Ms Kathy O’Hara||19.7L||5||54kg||$41|
|6||4||WORLD WIDE||Bede Murray||Tim Clark||21.6L||7||54kg||$18|
|7||1||PERMIT (GB)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||27.7L||3||59kg||$17|