The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The country’s best trainer Chris Waller enjoyed a Group 1 double at Randwick on Saturday with his forgotten filly Hinged scoring a narrow upset over fellow outsider Startantes and the beaten favourite Espiona in the 2022 Surround Stakes results.
Following on from Verry Elleegant’s incredible Chipping Norton Stakes title defence, Waller was back in the winners’ stall celebrating his first victory in the Group 1 $500,000 Surround Stakes (1400m).
The master horseman saddled-up three fillies in the race including the top two in betting backing up from the Light Fingers Stakes quinella with Fangirl and Espiona tipped to dominate again.
In the end it was another from the stable in the Queensland-raced daughter of Worthy Cause, Hinged, who stole the show in a thriller.
After starting her career in the sunshine state with Michael Nolan, Waller took over the training of Hinged last spring with the best of her three runs that prep being a second behind Never Been Kissed in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m).
That form was firmly franked in the Surround Stakes with the Robert Heathcote-trained Brisbane raider Startantes the late challenger, flashing home to force the photo result.
It was the Flight Stakes winner Never Been Kissed leading them around in the Surround Stakes, while Hinged was settled out wide in fourth ridden by comeback king Brenton Avdulla.
“Pretty emotional week. It’s been well documented through the week about my comeback but six months ago you are thinking ‘is that all it?’”, Avdulla said.
“That bit of self-doubt that you might not come back and if you do come back how are you going to come back? Are you coming back at your best? It wasn’t until the last couple of weeks I really started to feel good.
“Just blessed to get some great opportunities. I haven’t had many rides but I’ve been going to the races all this week just with a couple of rides but they’re chances for good trainers. Today was the same, I ended up with four rides but I knew two or three of them were going to be right in the money.
“Very thankful to Chris, I think that’s my third Group 1 winner for him now. James (McDonald) can’t ride them all. Very special moment.”
Badly injured at Randwick six months ago, Avdulla had only been back in the saddle before securing his 10th career Group 1 success aboard Hinged in the Surround.
“Well deserved. It was a scary day, the day he fell, it sent shivers through my spine,” Waller, now a 133-time Group 1 winning trainer, told Sky Thoroughbred Central speaking of Avdulla after the Surround.
“It was the 200m mark here at Randwick. He is an amazing athlete. He has got himself back in a good position, he has done it properly, he hasn’t rushed things back. He is just a real good sportsman, so well-deserved.”
Avdulla had the filly up into third once on the straight, while stablemate Espiona was still six of the lead at the 200m.
Inside the final furlong, Hinged took the lead before Startantes burst through going after her with the two hitting the line together in a desperately close finish that went the way of the inside filly who held on.
Espiona meanwhile lost few admirers getting up into third on the Heavy (10) track to complete the Surround Stakes trifecta.
“It was a good effort the way he rode the horse, saved a bit of energy,” Waller said of the winning hoop and filly.
“The horses out the back were really struggling turning for home and he shot through and was brave late.
“Terrific effort by a nice horse. I thought her run first-up was amazing.
“Kathy O’Hara rode her on that day and said, ‘she has come back well, she will win some good races’.
“Compared to last year, she has put on about 30 kilos so of the fillies, she’s been the big improver in terms of weight, and she ran second in the Flight Stakes so she has backed that up today.
“Fangirl and Espiona were both brave. They were giving away a big start and they (leaders) got away with some pretty soft sections from what I was looking at.
“They will have a rematch hopefully in a couple of weeks’ time.”
That rematch is likely to come in the Group $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 12.
2022 Surround Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||5||HINGED||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||1||56kg||$10|
|2||8||STARTANTES||Robert Heathcote||Jason Collett||0.06L||9||56kg||$19|
|3||7||ESPIONA||Chris Waller||James McDonald||1.23L||10||56kg||$2.60F|
|4||10||HERESY||James Cummings||Sam Clipperton||1.75L||4||56kg||$21|
|5||3||FANGIRL||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||1.96L||13||56kg||$3.50|
|6||16||HOPE IN YOUR HEART||Kerry Parker||William Pike||2.56L||5||56kg||$101|
|7||4||FOUR MOVES AHEAD||John Sargent||Nash Rawiller||3.76L||15||56kg||$17|
|8||6||JAMAEA||Robert & Luke Price||Brock Ryan||3.97L||6||56kg||$18|
|9||11||SHIHONKA||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Rachel King||4.69L||11||56kg||$51|
|10||2||NEVER BEEN KISSED (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Regan Bayliss||5.43L||7||56kg||$26|
|11||9||ZOUZARELLA||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Chad Schofield||5.46L||14||56kg||$15|
|12||12||SWEET RUBY||Kim Waugh||Jay Ford||6.22L||3||56kg||$91|
|13||14||LARKSPUR RUN||James Cummings||Glyn Schofield||8L||12||56kg||$61|
|14||13||TILIANAM (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||8.12L||8||56kg||$101|
|15||18e||I’M DIVINE||Edward Cummings||Tom Sherry (a)||10.99L||2||56kg||$101|
|1||YEARNING||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||William Pike||0|
|17e||VON TRAPP||Mark Newnham||Joshua Parr||0|
|15||RINGAROSA||Gary Portelli||Keagan Latham||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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