Saturday Past at Randwick Could be Called Waller Spring Carnival
Pat Webster got his wish and picked up the $94,000 for finishing second in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (Colgate Optic White Stakes – he who pays the piper calls the tune – or in this case, names the race) at Royal Randwick on Saturday, running behind, who else, Winx.
To some, the race might have seemed like a Chris Waller Stables parade. Even though Waller scratched Tom Melbourne, he still had four of the eight runners in the field.
Somewhat oddly, the starting price on Winx was $1.12, even though we had seen bookmaker odds earlier in the week of $1.10 and we had expected her to shorten. Bookmaker greed, perhaps?
Winx followed her usual pattern of letting the others go ahead and get the race started before she decided to do a bit of running closer to the end. She was on the tail after the first 600 m of the race. Jockey Hugh Bowman suggested that perhaps the mighty mare did not favour the firmer feel of the Good 3 turf, but she still managed to win by a comfortable 1.3 lengths before heading back to the stall to soak her tired hooves.
Waller horses finished third, fourth and fifth, those being respectively, Foxplay, McCreery and Mackintosh, although by the time Glyn Schofield and Mackintosh crossed, it would probably have seemed to Schofield that his visor should have had the message, “Objects ahead are further away than they appear,” as he was seeing Winx’s historic 20th consecutive win from a distance of almost eight lengths.
Waller’s operation took in $371,000 of the $500,000 up for grabs – just under 75 percent of the prize pool – so there will be fresh hay and oats all around the stables.
Bowman notched a double when immediately following the George Main Colgate Optic White Stakes; he rode Redzel for the Snowdens in the Group 2Bowermans’ Office Furniture Shorts.
Waller moved Tom Melbourne to race four, the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap, where, along with winner Comin’ Through, another $112,000 was added to the day’s haul.