Chris Waller scored his first win at Randwick on Saturday after Heart Testa won the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m).
The five-year-old gelding was a $14 hopeful in the betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au, delivering a strong win ahead of race favourite Driefontein ($2.60) with Territory ($4.60) half a length behind in third.
It was Gary Moore’s Happy Galaxy that led the race after jumping while Driefontein hugged the fence, taking over the lead halfway through. Gai Waterhouse’s five-year-old mare was searching for her first win of a lengthy campaign but just had enough down the straight when challenged by Heart Testa.
The five-year-old gelding was just too good, scoring his first win since the Kingswood Park Handicap (1350m) back in November.
The return to 1200m trip for the first time since December was the key to his victory, as well as residual fitness, according to Waller.
“Jason kept the balance and the horse interested, which was the key here,” the trainer said following the race.
“When a horse is going forward you’ve just got to let them go forward.
“This was definitely one of his best performances; the distance is really the key to him.
“Put him in another one and we might win another one pretty soon.”
Hoop Jason Collett rode Heart Testa more forward for the first time, which really seems to have helped, as well as the fact he appeared to just be in the right place of the track at the right time.
“I would have been comfortable in down in the middle of the straight but I just couldn’t get there,” Collett said
“He was strong in the last 100.”
Waller was also represented in the 2015 Southern Cross Stakes by Bull Point, who finished one and a half lengths behind his stable mate in fifth place.
“Bull Point was good, especially because of the lack of pressure in the race. He got a little tied up in the closing moments but it was a good effort,” the trainer said.
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2015 Southern Cross Stakes Race Results & Finishing Order
|1||6||HEART TESTA||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||–||7||55kg||$14|
|2||3||DRIEFONTEIN||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||0.4L||4||56.5kg||$2.60F|
|3||7||TERRITORY||Jarrod Austin||Sam Clipperton||0.5L||6||54kg||$4|
|4||4||DESTINY’S KISS||Joseph Pride||Hugh Bowman||0.7L||8||56kg||$51|
|5||5||BULL POINT||Chris Waller||James McDonald||1.6L||2||55kg||$5|
|6||8||CANNY BALLAD||Joseph Pride||Christian Reith||2L||9||54kg||$41|
|7||2||HOT SNITZEL||Gerald Ryan||Kerrin McEvoy||2.4L||1||58kg||$5.50|
|8||1||FIVEANDAHALFSTAR||Anthony Cummings||Joshua Parr||3.3L||3||60.5kg||$61|
|9||9||HAPPY GALAXY||Gary Moore||Jim Cassidy||8.9L||5||54kg||$26|