Five-year-old grey mare Catkins proved why she’s considered one of the best sprint-milers in the country on Saturday, defending her Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m) title at Rosehill and making it back-to-back wins in the $175,000 feature race.
It was a tough win but a win nonetheless. Catkins opened the Breeders Classic betting as $1.80 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au but saw her price firm late to $2.10. She didn’t disappoint the punters in the end, winning a photo finish over Lilliburlero ($10) while Mihiri ($5.50) finishing in third, leading the rest of the field a further two and a half lengths away.
The David Payne-trained Lilliburlero settled outside the leader, kicking strongly in the straight, but jockey Hugh Bowman was able to just squeeze enough out of Catkins in the closing moments, winning by a half head and scoring a race record of 1:09:34 seconds in her first-up run.
“She’s just a model of consistency,” Bowman told TVN.
“Although she hasn’t won a Group 1, I’ve ridden plenty of mares and seen plenty of mares that aren’t at her level and won Group 1s.
“She never seems to let anyone down. She got to the front easily and I thought, ‘I’m going to win easily’ and I think she just idled a bit in front. I think she might have been having a lend of me at the end of it because she was just doing enough.”
Despite winning her second consecutive Breeders Classic, Catkins will not follow the same autumn path as last year. Trainer Chris Waller has indicated the mare will not run in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) on March 14, in which she finished third last year. Carrying a top weight of 58kg in the mares handicap, Catkins was narrowly defeated.
Waller will instead take the mare to Royal Randwick for the $1 million Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) on April 11 before traveling to Queensland for the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) on June 20.
“I think we broke her heart in the Coolmore last year when she carried 58 kilos and we won’t make the same mistake again,” Waller said.
“Group One wins are so important and the Queen of the Turf is the target.
“She is a foolproof horse and even though she had to fight hard today, she looked like she enjoyed it.”
The 2015 autumn carnival is officially upon us with Group One races returning this Saturday. Open your Ladbrokes.com.au online betting account today to receive a $250 bonus match on your first bet. Just quote code: BETBONUS.
2015 Breeders Classic Race Results & Finishing Order
|1||1||CATKINS||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||–||8||57kg||$2.10|
|2||5||LILLIBURLERO||David Payne||Glyn Schofield||0.1L||9||55kg||$10|
|3||9||MIHIRI||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||2.4L||3||54kg||$5.50|
|4||4||NEENA ROCK||John Sargent||James McDonald||3L||2||55.5kg||$8.50|
|5||10||JUST A BLUR||Barbara Joseph & Paul Jones||Sam Clipperton||3.6L||4||54kg||$81|
|6||6||PLUCKY BELLE||Peter G Moody||Kerrin McEvoy||4.2L||1||55kg||$11|
|7||8||ROLE MODEL||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||4.7L||7||54kg||$21|
|8||7||MARIANNE||Peter & Paul Snowden||Larry Cassidy||5L||6||54kg||$10|
|9||2||ARINOSA||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||5.1L||5||57kg||$51|
|–||3||HERA||Kris Lees||Christian Reith||–||0||57kg||–|