Popular mare Catkins has returned to racing in the best way possible at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon; producing a monumental turn of foot to take out the Group 3 Sheraco Stakes (1200m) from a talented field.
Chris Waller warned mid-week Catkins was not as wound up as she usually is first-up, and the leading trainer appeared to be right on the money when she jumped from the gates only fairly and was settled on the fence, off the pace of early leaders Echo Gal, Bounding and Fine Mist.
Rounding onto the final straight wide and with plenty to do, the Dubawi mare quickly spooled up before charging forward; swooping down the outside of the field to hit the line a comfortable length in the clear of Echo Gal; Bounding hanging on for third from a fast-finishing Slightly Sweet.
James McDonald was thrilled with the performance mustered by Catkins for success in the Sheraco Stakes and laid all the praise on the class of the mare.
“She’s the pride of Sydney racing as a mare and her record speaks for itself,” McDonald said whilst still in the saddle.
“She’s an absolute privilege to ride, look at her – she doesn’t care at all.
“I’d marry this one.”
Waller was on hand for Catkins’ impressive first-up win in the Sheraco Stakes and could not apologise enough for underestimating the heart and courage of the talented grey.
“She’s certainly been a great horse to our stable and obviously for race followers as well,” Waller said.
“I apologise for talking that way but I can only say what I see – I saw a bigger than normal horse that was more relaxed.
“Normally she’s first out of the barriers and sitting hard up on the pace but today she was a long way back and gradually wore them down.
“What I underestimated is her heart – that’s bigger than most horses and it takes her a long way.”
Catkins remains undoubtedly the country’s best horse yet to break through for a win at the highest level, but Waller revealed immediate plans for the six-year-old lie with the Group 3 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill in a fortnight.
“We’ll keep her in Sydney and run her in the Gold Pendant – it’s a really good prize money race and I commend Racing NSW for trying to jack these races up a bit so she’ll be back at Rosehill in two weeks’ time,” Waller added.
In taking out the 2015 Sheraco Stakes, Catkins increased her incredible first-up record to seven wins from nine starts.