The runaway win of superior wet-tracker Wu Gok completed champion trainer Chris Waller’s absolute dominance of the feature staying races on Saturday.
Wu Gok led home Yulong Prince and The Lord Mayor for a Waller stable trifecta in the Listed $150,000 Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens.
This result came just 15 minutes after Waller prepared the first six horses over the line in the Group 3 $125,000 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) at Doomben with Le Juge beating stablemates Savacool, Another Dollar, Alward, Black On Gold and Shraaoh.
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Waller had a number of his stayers dual nominated for both races and his incredible results showed he split them perfectly.
“We are a bit top heavy with these horses,’’ Waller said of his army of seasoned, older stayers.
“But I’m reluctant to move them on when they are winning races and earning good prizemoney for their owners
“A few put their hands up today and said they want to be here a bit longer, too.’’
Sporting a new look, trainer Chris Waller enjoyed an unusual race-day double.Source:AAP
Wu Gok, a rising seven-year-old, is one of those stayers, showing he is going as well as ever with his impressive return to winning form.
Aided by an astute, ground-saving ride by Adam Hyeronimus, Wu Gok ($20) streaked home near the rails to win by nearly four lengths from Yulong Prince ($7) with The Lord Mayor ($15) a close third.
The Gerald Ryan-trained Bottega was the $3.70 favourite but the three-year-old could finish only eighth after having little galloping room from the turn.
Hyeronimus doesn’t many rides for the Waller stable but made the most of a rare opportunity with his winning effort on Wu Gok.
“He travelled well, put himself in a nice position and travelled great throughout,” Hyeronimus said.
“I was quite confident the leader was always going to roll off the fence and the place to be today has probably been the inside so I was very confident a long way out.
“Ït was a very good win and very good training performance to give him a freshen up and everything went his way today.’’
Adam Hyeronimus and Wu Gok combine to win the Lord Mayor’s Cup.Source:AAP
Wu Gok was contesting his 39th race, scored his 10th win and took his career earnings to nearly $680,000 in the Lord Mayor’s Cup.
This was the gelding’s third stakes success this season after his earlier victories in the Premier’s Cup and Wyong Cup last spring.
Waller said Wu Gok had disappointed him during the autumn carnival but a short freshen up at Hermitage Stud had reinvigorated the tough stayer.
“We sent him out to Hermitage and gave them instructions that we wanted him back ready for this race over 2000m — they did a super job,’’ Waller said.
“But I must admit I was doubting myself if he was ready and I even thought about waiting for a 1600m race next week.
Jockey Michael Cahill rides Le Juge to victory in Chairman’s Handicap.Source:AAP
“Then I looked at the forecast of good weather over the next few days and decided to run him on the heavy track today, which he enjoys. I’m pleased we did because he has won easily.
“We backed our judgment and had him ready to go first up and gee, what a win.
“It’s good for your confidence when you know you can step a horse straight out over 2000m.’’
Wu Gok is a noted mudlark with seven of his 10 wins coming on heavy tracks. Waller said the gelding will have an extended campaign over winter as he will get the opportunity to race on his preferred rain-affected surfaces.
“I’m not sure if he is a 2400m horse but there is the Winter Cup here in two weeks and there is another 2000m race (McKell Cup) later in the month,’’ Waller said.
Waller said he wants to give Yulong Prince his chance in the Winter Cup at Rosehill on June 13.
“I’d like to try him over 2400, I think now is the right time to do so,’’ Waller said.
“He’s running well but not quite executing the finish so I will give him a try at 2400m while he’s rock-hard fit.”
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Anders earned champion jockey James McDonald’s seal of approval when he held off Andermatt to win the juvenile opener.
“I thought there was good opposition (Saturday) and probably the two that cleared out are better than winter two-year-olds,’’ Sydney’s leading rider said.
Promising and speedy, Anders continued the dominant juvenile season of trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace with a tough win in the Darley Handicap (1100m).
Anders ($2.90 favourite) continued his form surge and recorded the 30th two-year-old winner of the season for the Maher-Eustace stable when he defeated Godolphin’s Andermatt ($6) by three-quarters of a length. They gapped their rivals with nearly four lengths to minor placegetter Sweet Reply ($11).
McDonald admitted Anders was “out on his feet” near the line but maintained there was a lot of merit in the youngster’s win.
“We ran along at a good clip and he was exposed a long way from home,” McDonald said.
“He did well to kick on like he did because I thought where’s this bloody Hugh (Bowman on Andermatt) in these blue colours about to knock me off but he pulled out all stops.’’
Annabel Neasham, who is in charge of the Warwick Farm stables for Melbourne-based Maher and Eustace, said Anders has always had the ability and is finally starting to learn how to race.
Neasham felt Anders took a lot of confidence out of his breakthrough maiden win at Wyong earlier this month.
“Anders has always had ability but didn’t quite know how to put it all together,’’ Neasham said.
“James (McDonald) said let a fast horse be a fast horse and that is probably the key to Anders finding form. We are not trying to harness his greatest asset which is his speed.
“Anders has brilliant speed so we will probably try to keep him at 1000m or 1100m for now. I still think there is improvement to come from him, too.
“The races are still strong even though we’re in the winter, there is a lot of class around at the moment so we will see how he comes through but I’d say we will look toward the spring now.”
Neasham said Anders could join the likes of Away Game, Prague Holyfield and Macroura as a genuine spring carnival contender.
Originally published asChris Waller goes the distance as only he can
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