The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The classy Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained English enjoyed a gutsy first-up win at Royal Randwick in the wet going back-to-back in the Challenge Stakes 2017.
The now four-year-old daughter of Encosta De Lago won the $500,000 Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) first-up last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival as a filly and successfully defended her title in the weight-for-age sprint this Randwick Guineas Day.
The first successive Challenge Stakes winner since Star Of Florida (2003-04), the Group 1 winning mare was in excellent form fresh off two trial wins at Warwick Farm and atoned for her mediocre spring.
“She’s back and she’s a different mare this preparation,” co-trainer Bott said after the win.
“She’s in great shape.”
Last seen crossing second last when 11th down the Flemington straight to Malaguerra in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m), the punters were willing to forgive English back in Sydney fresh over the 1000m.
She jumped favourite in Challenge Stakes betting despite queries how she would handle the Heavy-rated Randwick track.
English did an excellent job under the conditions, fighting hard late to run down the also resuming Redzel.
“She was out of her comfort zone the whole way,” winning jockey Blake Shinn explained post-race.
“I really had to ask her to extend from about the 500 metres.
“She was always going to be vulnerable and Redzel is a hard horse to get past.
“It was a great effort.”
After jumping in the second half of the field, Shinn had English settled back off the pace set by the Joe Pride-trained Ball Of Musle who led through until the home straight.
Shinn and the reigning champion took the inside running after cornering and the mare scooped up her competition running hard down the centre of the track.
Levelling up to Redzel, she gave a late kick and got to the line a nose ahead of the consistent Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Snitzel four-year-old as the fast-closing Supido rounded out the Challenge Stakes trifecta in third.
“To her credit she was out on her feet at the 100m, but showed what a tough filly she is,” Bott said.
The stable have the same autumn prep on the agenda for English as last year and she’ll race second-up at Rosehill Gardens on Golden Slipper Day in a fortnight looking to improve on her sixth last year in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m).
From there she could race at Randwick on April 1 during The Championships in the $2.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m), a sprint she ran third to Chautauqua in last year, before defending her title in the $600,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) later that month.
Back the Challenge Stakes 2017 winner English next start at the hottest autumn racing odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 Challenge Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 5 – 04/03/2017
|1||7||ENGLISH||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Blake Shinn||–||1||56.5kg||$4.20F|
|2||2||REDZEL||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||0.1L||9||58.5kg||$6|
|3||3||SUPIDO||Michael Kent||Luke Nolen||1.6L||6||58.5kg||$6|
|4||9||FELINES||Kris Lees||Brenton Avdulla||1.9L||4||56.5kg||$12|
|5||6||JUNGLE EDGE||Mick Bell||Arron Lynch||4.1L||8||58.5kg||$21|
|6||5||WOULDNT IT BE NICE||Paul Perry||Tim Clark||6.9L||2||58.5kg||$31|
|7||4||DAL CIELO (NZ)||Kris Lees||Glyn Schofield||7.3L||7||58.5kg||$7.50|
|8||10||KENTUCKY MISS||Joseph Pride||Corey Brown||7.9L||5||54kg||$9.50|
|9||1||BALL OF MUSCLE||Joseph Pride||Tommy Berry||14.2L||3||58.5kg||$5|
|–||8||HEATHERLY||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Joao Moreira||–||0|
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