The country’s leading trainer Chris Waller secured his 53rd Group 1 trophy with success in the Caulfield Guineas 2015 in Melbourne this weekend with the race favourite Press Statement getting the job done for the punters.
Also winning Sydney’s Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) with the top fancy Vanbrugh earlier in the day, Waller capped off another ace weekend at the track in the $1 million Group 1 BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Proving his class once more, Hinchinbrook colt Press Statement became a dual Group 1 winner over the mile and likely doubled his value at stud having also won the JJ Atkins in Brisbane as a two-year-old in the winter.
Things didn’t go exactly to plan in the Guineas for ace hoop Hugh Bowman who also won the race for the first time this year as part of a winning hat-trick at the meeting.
Originally Bowman was going to take Press Statement, who became the second horse in as many years to win the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) – Caulfield Guineas double joining Shooting To Win (2014), towards the back.
The colt jumped far too good to be ridden cold however, and Bowman made a brave decision to go forward after the first 200m and take up the running from the Mick Price-trained Ready For Victory who had the blinkers on for the first time.
Eventually Kentucky Flyer moved up to settle in second behind the subsequent all-the-way winner with Bassett getting into a nice positon in fourth.
Slowing up the tempo, Press Statement tracked along up front while another proven miler Lizard Island was deep on the inside in a midfield position ready to work into the race.
Swinging around the turn Press Statement was still the leader, Bowman moving him off the inside into a better part of the track down the middle on the straight.
The Pat Hyland-trained Sebring colt Lizard Island, coming off a 1600m win at Pakenham after a second to subsequent Caulfield Guineas Prelude winner Bon Aurum in a Flemington black-type over 1400m the run before, and his hoop Blake Shinn were staying on the rails, which hadn’t proved the right place to be all day.
For the first time at the meeting, the frontrunner stayed ahead of the pack all the way to the finish line in the Caulfield Guineas with Press Statement ($2.60) hitting another gear after balancing up to draw clear and win with plenty of merit not being a natural leader.
On the line he had one and three-quarter lengths to spare over the improving Lizard Island ($19) who put in the enormous run in the Group 1 with Ready For Victory ($11) a much better horse from last time crossing a neck further back in third to finish off the winning Caulfield Guineas trifecta.
Bowman was full of post-win praise for Press Statement who he dubbed a genuine contender in next year’s, if not this year’s, $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
“He’s a star in the making, no doubt about it,” he said.
“To just go there and take up the field like that today when it wasn’t the plan.
“This is a serious colt. He was the best horse in the race.
“I don’t like getting carried away, but this will be one of the top Cox Plate contenders next year.
“He’s probably earned himself a run this year, but it’s going to be a tough race for three-year-olds this year in my opinion, but I’ll leave that up to the connections to decide.
“But next year, I think he’ll be a serious Cox Plate contender.”
Waller was also unsure as to whether this year’s edition of Australasia’s weight-for-age championship on October 24 would come too soon.
“Right since he won the JJ Atkins in Queensland this was the target,” Waller explained.
“Obviously the Coolmore Stud Stakes could’ve been an option, but we’ve got it right on this occasion.
“It’s nice to be able to identify things a few weeks out and get it right.
“He’s a good horse.
“We’ll go home to Flemington then worry about tomorrow tomorrow.
“It could be against him going into a Cox Plate.
“He’s had a hell of a long journey. Do we need to find out whether he wins a Cox Plate or not? I don’t know, maybe we find out next year.
“I feel proud, I’ve done my job.
“It’s a pretty pleasing moment to know that he’s probably doubled his value again.”
Stay tuned to see where Press Statement goes next, then to back him next race at the right price open an account online at Ladbrokes.com.au where quoting the code SPRINGBONUS will get you up to $700 in bonus bets as a first time depositor!
2015 Caulfield Guineas Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 9 – 10/10/2015
|1||1||PRESS STATEMENT||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||–||14||56.5kg||$2.50F|
|2||11||LIZARD ISLAND||Pat Hyland||Blake Shinn||1.75L||2||56.5kg||$19|
|3||3||READY FOR VICTORY||Mick Price||Glen Boss||2.05L||4||56.5kg||$11|
|4||8||SOVEREIGN NATION||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||2.35L||1||56.5kg||$21|
|5||4||RAGEESE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James Winks||2.55L||15||56.5kg||$41|
|6||9||BASSETT (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Daniel Stackhouse||2.75L||9||56.5kg||$9|
|7||13||TARZINO (NZ)||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||3.75L||3||56.5kg||$17|
|8||15||TULSA||Michael Moroney||Ben Melham||4.25L||16||56.5kg||$12|
|9||6||BON AURUM||Ciaron Maher||Kerrin McEvoy||5.25L||10||56.5kg||$11|
|10||14||SNOOPY||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||5.65L||11||56.5kg||$26|
|11||5||DAL CIELO (NZ)||Murray Baker||Opie Bosson||5.85L||8||56.5kg||$12|
|12||16||MORE THAN MOST||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Mark Zahra||7.1L||7||56.5kg||$101|
|13||7||SHARDS||John O’Shea||Jim Cassidy||9.1L||12||56.5kg||$26|
|14||10||LAST BULLET||John Hyam||Vlad Duric||9.2L||6||56.5kg||$21|
|15||2||ODYSSEY MOON||Rodney Northam||Steven Arnold||9.3L||13||56.5kg||$51|
|16||12||KENTUCKY FLYER||Robbie Laing||Craig Williams||19.3L||5||56.5kg||$81|
|–||17e||MR INDIVIDUAL||Leon & Troy Corstens||Mark Zahra||–||0||–||–|