Gai Waterhouse capped off a big day of racing at Rosehill Gardens with her always-promising French import Pornichet booking a Doncaster Mile 2015 bid in seven days’ time with a win in the Neville Sellwood Stakes.
The $150,000 Group 3 Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) was D-Day for a host of runners out to prove their ability ahead of Randwick’s The Championships majors over the next two weeks this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Race favourite at $3.80 through Ladbrokes.com.au was the former French-trained Vespone stallion Pornichet who lined up for his fifth start down under on The BMW Day.
Winner of the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m) in mid-November during the spring, the up-and-comer came off two unplaced Sydney runs including a fifth when only one and a quarter lengths off the winner in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill a fortnight ago.
A step up to 2000m and the two weeks between runs third-up proved just what he needed with Blake Shinn, earlier winner aboard Fenway in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) giving him a winning double for the day, riding Pornichet like a dream.
In the stalking position throughout the race posted, Pornichet ($3.60F) drove down the inside to get cover and settle in third behind eventual last past the post, fellow French import Himalaya Dream who led the field round.
Pornichet then responded when Shinn asked over the final 300m on the straight, cruising up to take the lead before exploding away to put a big gap on his rivals and put them away in three strides.
He was the last of the leaders to come off the bit and powered away to the line in a dominant performance to beat a wall of horses coming at him.
On the line he had one and three-quarters of a length to spare over the fast finishing seven-year-old Our Voodoo Prince ($15) who led a three-horse Chris Waller-trained army all battling for a spot in the finish.
Third went to former Queensland Derby winner Hawkspur, sitting last inside the final 1200m, who was just a neck further back before Junoob (4th) was a nose further away to round out the First Four.
Having proven his ability today, Pornichet will back-up on Day 1 of The Championships at Royal Randwick next Saturday in the feature race at the meeting, the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Shinn is confident the Neville Sellwood winner would be very competitive in the Doncaster Mile – a race Waterhouse boasts seven previous wins in most recently with More Joyous (2012).
“This horse, he’s a colt so he’s quite valuable,” Shinn said after the win.
“He could be heading towards the Doncaster on that win. It was an emphatic win.
“He’ll be a live shot with no weight on his back (next week).
“He’s a classy horse…it took him a little while to get fit (this time in), but he’s there now.”
Waterhouse confirmed Doncaster Mile plans for Pornichet and is confident the step down from a 2000m win to the Randwick mile is a winning formula that can pay off for her again this autumn.
“This horse is going to the Doncaster,” she said.
“He’s very exciting.
“He was the winner form the top of the straight (today). Just joyous to watch.
“I’ve always had an opinion of him.
“I know that’s a winning formula (2000m down to 1600m at Randwick).”
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2015 Neville Sellwood Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Rosehill Race 9 – 28/03/2015
|1||5||PORNICHET (FR)||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||–||7||55.5kg||$3.60F|
|2||8||OUR VOODOO PRINCE (GB)||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||1.8L||1||55.5kg||$15|
|3||2||HAWKSPUR||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||2L||11||58kg||$9|
|4||3||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||2.1L||4||56.5kg||$10|
|5||6||DISCLAIMER (GB)||Peter & Paul Snowden||Damian Browne||3.1L||5||55.5kg||$26|
|6||10||DESTINY’S KISS||Joseph Pride||Christian Reith||5.4L||9||55kg||$13|
|7||7||SLOW PACE (USA)||Kris Lees||Brenton Avdulla||5.6L||2||55.5kg||$41|
|8||1||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||6.2L||8||59.5kg||$7|
|9||13||DEAR DEMI||Clarry Conners||Jim Cassidy||7.3L||10||54.5kg||$9.50|
|10||11||SINGING FLAME||Kevin Moses||Glyn Schofield||7.4L||6||55kg||$19|
|11||12||HIMALAYA DREAM (FR)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||30.4L||3||55kg||$4.80|
|–||4||MOURO (USA)||Tony McEvoy||Nicholas Hall||–||0||–||–|
|–||9||INDEX LINKED (GB)||Chris Waller||–||–||0||–||–|