Chris Waller must make a tough choice between the Queen Of The Turf Stakes during Randwick’s The Championships or the All Aged Stakes for his superstar mare Catkins’ next start following her Emancipation Stakes 2015 win at Rosehill.
The gallant grey jumped odds-on and crowd favourite in today’s $175,000 Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m) for her 14th start at her home track.
Her brilliant record at home continued with in-form hoop James McDonald, bagging himself an early The BMW Day double, privileged to jump in the champion’s saddle for the first time and producing her eighth Rosehill win.
Pinging away from the barriers like a 1000m sprinter, Catkins switched off well and settled into second on the outside of the leader Any Day Will Do.
She and McDonald stalked the frontrunner throughout before getting serious on the straight and hitting the front with 100m left to travel.
Over the closing stages the four-time Group 1 placegetter showed off her class and won running away like a $1.60 favourite should to successfully defend her title having won last year’s Emancipation Stakes as well.
On the line she had a comfortable margin to spare over the brave runner-up Amanpour ($16), coming from fourth in the field, who was second-up for Gai Waterhouse with Gypsy Diamond ($20) finishing off the Emancipation Stakes trifecta in third.
McDonald didn’t have the words to describe how good $1.68 million winner Catkins is, but cheekily said he thought connections should keep him on her as she chases the elusive Group 1 win later this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“It’s just a privilege to be asked to ride this glamour mare,” he said.
“What can I say? She’s just an awesome mare and it’s just a real privilege and honour to sit on top of this magnificent animal.
“I don’t have any words to describe her. She’s just an absolute superstar. I really hope she gets that Group 1.
“I think they (connections) should leave me on her!”
Catkins has been a true star for Waller and her connections at Ingham, co-owner John Ingham saying they would all really love to see her win that deserved Group 1 this season.
“She means a great deal to us,” Ingham said.
“She’s been very exciting…she keeps on performing.
“Fingers crossed she can get the Group 1 over the line this time.
“She gives her best every time, she’s just run into a couple that are a little bit better on the day.”
Waller is weighing up his options with the dual Emancipation Stakes winner, who has also won the Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m) and Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) this season before her Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) second on March 7 behind Cosmic Endeavour – a race she ran third in last year before her first Emancipation Stakes victory.
She could back-up on Day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick in a fortnight on April 11 taking on her fellow mares in the $1 million Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) over the mile or be saved for the following week’s $400,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) against the boys on the 18th.
“You can’t say much, sure we’ve got the Group 1 box to tick but she’s done everything else,” Waller said.
“She’ll get her opportunity next start, probably in The Queen Of The Turf or the All Aged.
“(The decision will) more so come down to the distance.
“The 1400m suits her better instead of the tough Randwick mile.
“That said she’s never been in better form.
“In the All Aged she’ll be against the boys and in the Queen Of The Turf the girls, so it depends what we’re up against (in each).
“The firm favourite is the Queen Of The Turf, it’s worth $1 million, it’s just extending her distance range and hoping she can do it.”
From there a trip to Queensland for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival is likely on the cards before the mare’s pending retirement.
“She’s not finished yet though, she’ll have more races after that too,” Waller added.
“We’re very proud of her
“She’s just a winner… a very close pet for our stable.”
Catkins ran sixth to Diamond Drille in last year’s Queen Of The Turf before a fourth to Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm last winter, which she will target again in 2015.
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2015 Emancipation Stakes Result & Finishing Order
Rosehill Race 4 – 28/03/2015
|1||1||CATKINS||Chris Waller||James McDonald||–||9||57kg||$1.55F|
|2||10||AMANPOUR||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||1.8L||10||54kg||$16|
|3||5||GYPSY DIAMOND||Peter & Paul Snowden||Sam Clipperton||2L||1||56kg||$20|
|4||7||MADAM GANGSTER||Lee & Shannon Hope||Craig Williams||2.2L||5||55kg||$6.50|
|5||6||MAHARA||Peter & Paul Snowden||Blake Shinn||3.1L||3||55kg||$18|
|6||11||ANY DAY WILL DO||David Vandyke||Ms Kathy O’Hara||3.4L||4||54kg||$26|
|7||8||MY SABEEL (NZ)||Kevin Moses||Tim Clark||3.6L||2||55kg||$26|
|8||3||HERA (NZ)||Kris Lees||Damian Browne||4L||8||57kg||$41|
|9||4||PEGGY JEAN||Gerald Ryan||Tommy Berry||6.4L||7||57kg||$18|
|10||9||SCORPIO QUEEN||Kris Lees||Christian Reith||8L||6||54kg||$51|
|–||12||THINKING OF YOU (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Brenton Avdulla||–||0||–||–|
|–||2||DEAR DEMI||Clarry Conners||–||–||0||–||–|