The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Less than an hour after Winx’s farewell win in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, champion trainer Chris Waller added his third Group 1 victory of the day thanks to Shraaoh’s dazzling run in the Sydney Cup (3200m).
The six-year-old British import finally found a firm track after running second at Group 2 level last week, and made short work of the 20 horse field to win his Group 1 debut.
Shraaoh, who won Saturday’s race by a length and a half, was a $13.00 chance with Ladbrokes prior to the race, but looked every bit a winner finding an extra gear along the inside to race away from second place-getter Vengeur Masque.
With emotions still high following Winx’s goodbye, it was also a big win for jockey Jay Ford, who last won at Group 1 level aboard Monaco Consul in the 2009 edition of the Spring Champion Stakes.
“It’s a reality check. I can’t complain. I used to ride a very good horse. I’ve had good success since. I’ve won numerous stakes races but another Group 1 has eluded me since Monaco Consul nine years ago” Ford said after the race.
Shraaoh was always dubbed a talented stayer by owners, but struggled since arriving in Australia, largely due to starting a number of races on soft or heavy tracks. Waller was told the gelding by Sea The Stars was almost a sure-thing on a dry track, good news for the champion trainer as he claimed all three Group 1’s on Sydney Cup day for the second year in a row.
“Undescribable and probably a bit spoilt to have it all on the same day as what we just witnessed, I think there’s a good chance I won’t forget this day” Waller said after the race.
“He’s had wet track after wet track, the team back in the northern hemisphere said don’t worry when he gets on the dry track he’s twice the horse, and proved that today and he fought tough, fort hard, and well done to Jay Ford.”
Shraaoh was among the favourites to win the Sydney Cup prior to the barrier draw, but the inside gate certainly helped his cause on Saturday. The same can’t be said for race-favourite Dubhe, who jumped from barrier four only to finish 12th.
Irish raider Vengeur Masque also fought on bravely for second, while New Zealand galloper Glory Days flashed home late from the outside to steal third.
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