Sydney’s premier horseman Chris Waller scored another off-season feature race win over the weekend with Rugged Cross beating home a solid field of sprinters in the Winter Stakes 2015 at Rosehill Gardens.
A final field of 10 faced off in this season’s $100,000 Listed Sydney Markets Limited Winter Stakes (1400m) including two for Waller who earlier scratched out both Instrumentalist and Diametric.
Drawn the rails with Brenton Avdulla in the saddle, imported Cape Cross six-year-old Rugged Cross improved on a last start fourth to Haussmann in the Listed Civic Stakes at the same track a fortnight earlier to beat a similar field home in the Winter Stakes.
Carrying 56kg Rugged Cross ($7.50) finished just a nose in front of Civic Stakes runner-up Two Blue ($5.50), Kristen Buchanan’s honest Dubleo mare finishing second best in another stakes feature by a narrow margin.
Finishing off the winning Winter Stakes trifecta only a neck further back in third and adding value to the exotics was the Paul Perry-trained Choisir four-year-old Wouldnt It Be Nice ($16), winner of the June Stakes at Randwick six weeks earlier before unplaced runs in the Winter Dash (5th) and Civic Stakes (8th), who challenged late but just didn’t have the late burst to win.
All post-win reports from Avdulla were positive, the winning hoop praising the guts of Rugged Cross who dug deep in the closing stages to dive and win in the final stride.
“He was at his top and I just had to put the whip away to find something extra and he really dug in,” Avdulla said according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“The first two [Two Blue and Wouldnt It Be Nice] peaked on their runs a bit, but he did find that little bit he needed to.
“At the top of the straight I thought I was going to run a nice race without winning and to his credit he dug in.
“I was manoeuvring around, but I never lost my momentum. I cut the turn and when I asked him for his effort half-way up the straight he went well.”?
Waller, who will collect his fourth consecutive Sydney Trainers’ Premiership this season, enjoyed a quartet of wins on Winter Stakes Day.
His other winners on the card were Soviet Courage (Race 1), Japonisme (Race 3) and Marenostro (Race 8), but it was Rugged Cross’s stakes win that capped the day for him.
“He’s no superstar, but he’s a very important horse to our stable,” Waller said of the Winter Stakes champ.
“They constantly win prizemoney and when you get good draws, a well-timed run they win. If they don’t get all of those things they don’t win. They run a nice race.
“It’s what winter racing is about as well. It’s not just about the carnival horses, but this horse also won a restricted race during [The Championships].
“It not only delivers a thrill by winning on a big day and now he’s won a listed race. He’s been a very good horse to us.”
Wyong’s Buchanan meanwhile was devastated by the second narrow loss in as many stakes races for Two Blue, both the mare and trainer shooting for a maiden Black Type success.
“She was brilliant,” Buchanan said.
“She always gives 110 per cent. Physically and ability wise, she’s probably not the most amazing horse, but it’s just all ticker. She tries so hard. I knew that she had just got beaten.”
See below for the full Winter Stakes 2015 results then head to Ladbrokes.com.au for all the season’s top racing odds and promos including a $500 new depositor’s bonus with use of the code BETBONUS!
2015 Winter Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Rosehill Race 7 – 18/07/2015
|1||7||RUGGED CROSS (GB)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||–||1||56kg||$7.50|
|2||8||TWO BLUE||Kristen Buchanan||Paul King||0.1L||5||55kg||$5.50|
|3||6||WOULDNT IT BE NICE||Paul Perry||Thomas Huet||0.3L||7||56.5kg||$16|
|4||11||LIBERTY’S CHOICE||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||0.8L||3||54kg||$5.50|
|5||13||NOELA’S CHOICE||Peter G Moody||Ms Kathy O’Hara||2.1L||10||54kg||$8|
|6||2||SEE THE WORLD||Joseph Pride||Hugh Bowman||2.3L||9||58kg||$9.50|
|7||3||YOU’LL NEVER||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||2.6L||2||58kg||$5F|
|8||4||HAUSSMANN||John O’Shea||James McDonald||7.5L||8||57kg||$5.50|
|9||10||CANNY BALLAD||John P Thompson||Sam Clipperton||9.2L||6||54kg||$31|
|10||1||SPURTONIC||Gai Waterhouse||Travis Wolfgram (a)||11.2L||4||59kg||$51|
|–||5||INSTRUMENTALIST (IRE)||Chris Waller||Rory Hutchings (a)||–||0||–||–|
|–||12||ROYAL ISLAND||John Salanitri||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||9||DIAMETRIC (IRE)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||–||0||–||–|