Sydney’s leading lady of racing Gai Waterhouse scored her eighth Queen Of The Turf Stakes and her second in as many years with an outsider in betting thanks to a gutsy effort from Amanpour in the wet at Royal Randwick this The Championships.
Waterhouse won her first edition of the fillies-and-mares’ classic back in 1995 with Light Up The World and 20 years later she won her latest in 2015 with Northern Meteor four-year-old Amanpour who relished the mile in the $1 million Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) on Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day.
“She’s such a tough mare,” Waterhouse said after the win.
“I took her down to Melbourne last year and she was just a bridesmaid on a couple of occasions.”
The eventual Queen Of The Turf Stakes winner sweated up a storm in the mounting yard and was later unloaded from the barriers pre-jump, undergoing a vet check before being reloaded, but it made no difference in the end.
Twelve months ago Waterhouse scored an upset Queen Of The Turf Stakes result with 40/1 roughie Diamond Drille who came off a fourth in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes to win.
Today it was Amanpour and jockey Kerrin McEvoy going out at $21 odds at Ladbrokes.com.au on the back of a second behind Chris Waller’s always gallant grey Catkins in the Emancipation Stakes on March 28 at Rosehill.
Over the extra distance and in the wet though Amanpour, enjoying her first win since a Benchmark 74 at Kensington last October, was able to turn the tables and put an easy two and a half lengths on Catkins in the Group 1.
“She’s won over further than a mile and she likes the (wet) ground,” winning hoop McEvoy, celebrating his second win in three years having also ridden Appearance (2013) to victory for the late Guy Walter, said.
“She gave me a great kick turning for home.
“She’s delighted me today. She’s done a fantastic job.
“She was third-up today and Gai’s been rapt with her.
“She ran a really incredible race behind Catkins at set weights last time and was better suited to the mile today.”
Catkins was beaten favourite when sixth in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes last year and continues to chase that elusive Group 1 victory after so many close calls and minor placings.
In third in a photo finish with Catkins to round out the Queen Of The Turf Stakes trifecta was then a very brave Noble Protector in her first loss of the season.
Up from Melbourne, Robert Smerdon’s in-form import Noble Protector came off back-to-back Group mile wins in Victoria and had zero luck in her Sydney debut getting posted three wide with no cover throughout.
She was ultra-brave in defeat then making up lots of late ground in the closing stages to run third.
Catkins won the start before falling back into a lovely position tucked on the rails in third with Amanpour moving up to take up the lead.
It was a strong front-running performance from Amanpour then who bounced out from the gates really well leading all-the-way to hold off the mighty mare Catkins who was only a nose in front of Noble Protector, a big drifter in the markets but able to handle the Heavy track conditions better than expected, on the line.
Amanpour has now won four of her 18 career starts and looks a big chance in the spring Group 1s in Melbourne later this year in similar company, Waterhouse however taking in today’s win first.
“That was fantastic today,” she asi.
“One race at a time!”
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2015 Queen Of The Turf Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 7 – 11/04/2015
|1||9||AMANPOUR||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||–||3||57kg||$21|
|2||2||CATKINS||Chris Waller||Joao Moreira||1.8L||10||57kg||$4|
|3||6||NOBLE PROTECTOR (GB)||Robert Smerdon||Craig Williams||1.9L||7||57kg||$5.50|
|4||11||INTIMATE MOMENT (NZ)||Chris Waller||Zac Purton||2.9L||2||57kg||$31|
|5||1||COSMIC ENDEAVOUR||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||3.8L||4||57kg||$21|
|6||14||FIRST SEAL||John P Thompson||James McDonald||4.8L||8||54.5kg||$3.50F|
|7||5||BONARIA||Pat Hyland||Hugh Bowman||5L||1||57kg||$31|
|8||3||DIADEME (NZ)||Murray Baker||Ryan Moore||5.4L||15||57kg||$21|
|9||8||GYPSY DIAMOND||Peter & Paul Snowden||Sam Clipperton||5.9L||12||57kg||$26|
|10||10||HERA (NZ)||Kris Lees||Brenton Avdulla||6.1L||14||57kg||$81|
|11||13||JUST A BLUR||Barbara Joseph & Paul Jones||Jason Collett||7.2L||6||57kg||$151|
|12||4||DIAMOND DRILLE||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||7.6L||11||57kg||$15|
|13||15||AMICUS||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||8.3L||9||54.5kg||$26|
|14||7||SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (NZ)||Murray Baker||Opie Bosson||9.3L||13||57kg||$19|
|15||12||TELEPATHIC (NZ)||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||9.7L||5||57kg||$16|