The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Chris Waller’s Epsom star from last spring is back in business with Kolding producing a powerful run third-up to defeat three of his stablemates home in a first four for Team Waller in the 2020 George Main Stakes results.
Waller made it seven wins in the Group 1 $500,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) in the past nine years with Kolding adding his name alongside the likes of: Shoot Out (2012), Sacred Falls (2014), Kermadec (2015) and the brilliant three-time champion Winx (2016-18).
The Ocean Park five-year-old went around at a price too, only rated a $9.50 chance through Ladbrokes.com.au with markets dominated by his Group 1 Winx Stakes winning stablemate Verry Elleegant.
Kolding hadn’t been in the winners’ stall since backing up from his Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) win last October to take out the inaugural $7.5 million The Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill back in November.
He had a string of luckless runs in Sydney and Melbourne over the autumn, showing his dislike for the left-handed way of racing at Caulfield, before being hampered back home by wet tracks over ‘The Championships’.
“In my mind, he never left,” Waller told the media post-win.
“Things just hadn’t gone his way.
“We just haven’t panicked. We stick to plans and try and make things unfold and the four of them went very well.”
First-up he ran 13th in the Winx Stakes, a performance that was better than it looked on paper, and one he improved off when runner-up behind Dreamforce in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) a fortnight back.
John Thompson’s dual Tramway winner Dreamforce bounced the gates in the George Main on Saturday taking up the early lead and setting a nice pace up front.
Jockey Tommy Berry was happy to settle second on his outside beating the fellow Waller-trained Imaging for speed, the latter running along in third then fourth throughout.
Moving up into a forward position third the fence was Waller’s perennial Group 1 runner-up Star Of the Seas, second in Doncaster Mile during the autumn and Winx Stakes this prep.
Defending champion Avilius meanwhile was ridden stone cold back in last and failed to work his way into the race late.
As they approached the turn Verry Elleegant tried to come away from the fence as Dreamforce cornered well before dropping out on the straight once tackled by the Waller contingent.
Jockey James McDonald was desperate to get into the clear on the favourite Verry Elleegant, but he was forced back onto the fence getting squeezed out wide and stuck in a pocket by the Godolphin-raced Oaks winner Colette.
Up front it was Imaging and Kolding slogging it out, the latter lifting and drawing clear to defeat the fast finishing Star Of The Seas.
“It was good to see him return back to form the other day,” Berry said of the winner.
“Chris has just nursed him back to his best form.
“He switched off really well for me today…and allowed me to finish off strong at the end.”
Imaging rounded out the trifecta before Verry Elleegant off the luckless run ran fourth in a run Waller tipped she can atone for getting up to the 2000m of the Group 1 $5 million Cox Plate in Melbourne next month.
“She hasn’t been there (the rails) for a long time, but I think stepping up to the 2000m next time she’ll be fine,” the master trainer said.
For beaten jockey Sam Clipperton on Star Of The Seas, the George Main results continued an incredible run of frustrating Group 1 seconds, his 10th since taking out the 2016 All Aged Stakes on English.
As for the next-up run for Kolding this prep, Waller said he would be out-weighted for an Epsom Handicap title defence.
“Too much weight!” he said.
“But we’ll find a nice race for Kolding. We’ve just got to find his right distance.
“Following the weight-for-age path.
“I wouldn’t rule out Moonee Valley or Flemington, but he certainly doesn’t like Caulfield.”
2020 George Main Stakes Results
|STAR OF THE SEAS (NZ)
|VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ)
|Ms Rachel King
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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