Daniel Morton’s in-form local star Watermans Bay saluted for the punters in the feature race at Perth’s Ascot Racecourse over the weekend successfully defending his title in the AJ Scahill Stakes 2015.
Last season the Eternity Range gelding won the race following a second in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) and 12 months on he repeated the exact same form.
Runner-up in this year’s Winterbottom behind Buffering, on Saturday in the $250,000 Group 3 A.J. Scahill Stakes (1400m) the seven-year-old relished a drop back in class running home as the $1.80 odds-on favourite.
Ridden by Perth’s best William Pike, Watermans Bay had under half a length to spare over the Vaughn Sigley-trained Magnifisio ($4) who was also second past the post in last year’s AJ Scahill Stakes.
In a surprise third to finish off the Trifecta beaten one and three quarter lengths by the winner was the Adam Durrant-trained Respondent ($26) who improved second-up off a fourth in the Group 3 RJ Peters Stakes (1500m) to become the second Bob & Sandra Peters-owned horse in as many years to run third in the race.
It was an historic win and ace ride to win the AJ Scahill Stakes after Watermans Bay was forced back to settle last from the outside barrier behind pacesetter and eventual last placegetter Dawn Approach.
After a truly run race, the field approached the home turn and Sigley’s Magnus mare Magnifisio capitalised on her easy run throughout to find the front.
With plenty of ground to make up, Watermans Bay pulled out a scintillating late burst and displayed an outstanding turn of foot to run down the favourite and become the first back-to-back AJ Scahill Stakes winner in history.
Ascot-based Morton said post-win futures plans for dual champion could now include a trip overseas.
“The horse is going every bit as good as he was last year,” he told Perth Racing.
“I’d like to think he’s deserved of an invitation somewhere, his repertoire speaks for itself and he’s run second behind some very good horses.
“He’s just a charm horse to train.
“He certainly knows where the winning post is.”
Watermans Bay has now won 11 of his 40 starts for $1.38 million in prize money.
After winning the race last year his subsequent autumn included an eastern state bid during the Melbourne Festival of Racing where he contested two elite level features and won the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield in early April.
A similar campaign is on the cards again for Watermans Bay, including a possible shot at the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington Racecourse in early March.
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2015 A.J. Scahill Stakes Results
Ascot Race 6 – 28/11/2015
|1||1||WATERMANS BAY||Daniel Morton||William Pike||–||7||59kg||$1.80|
|2||7||MAGNIFISIO||Vaughn Sigley||Jason Brown||0.45L||4||57kg||$4|
|3||2||RESPONDENT||Adam Durrant||Glenn Smith||1.75L||5||59kg||$26|
|4||4||ROMMEL||Neville Parnham||Steven Parnham||2.5L||6||59kg||$11|
|5||6||BATTLE HERO||Grant Williams||Chris Parnham||2.75L||2||59kg||$12|
|6||5||CHECKPOINT||Neville Parnham||Brad Parnham||3.25L||3||59kg||$13|
|7||3||DAWN APPROACH||Vaughn Sigley||Takahide Ikenushi||7L||1||59kg||$13|