Chris Waller’s Royal Descent rediscovers winning touch in Group 2 feature at Randwick
ROYAL Descent ended more than two years of frustration and near-misses with a magnificent comeback win against a star-studded field at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) lived up to the pre-race hype, producing a memorable contest and outstanding runs from so many spring carnival hopefuls.
But when looking for the best run in the race — don’t look past the winner, Royal Descent.
It has been 29 months, 19 races, 10 minor placings, including six at Group 1 level, since Royal Descent last won a race — but trainer Chris Waller sprung to the defence of the sleek, near-black mare.
“She is the last horse I would ever call a non-winner,’’ Waller said. “I know that is what her form suggests but you would not get a horse that tries as hard as this mare. She has been so gallant in so many races, almost setting weight-carrying records in races like the Epsom.
“Even though she is a six-year-old now, she hasn’t had a lot of racing and she has never looked better or stronger than she does now. She is in for a good spring.’’
Royal Descent ($5.50), ridden by Hugh Bowman, overwhelmed Pornichet ($4.80) to win by one-and-a-half lengths with Messene ($11) getting through late for third, a neck away.
The Warwick Stakes, the traditional Sydney spring carnival starting point for the elite gallopers, was a race of many highlights — and one lowlight:
Royal Descent became only the second mare this century to win the race after Private Steer in 2004.
Bowman said his confidence grew the moment he was legged into the saddle prior to the race.
“I haven’t ridden Royal Descent a lot but I’ve ridden her enough to realise she was in the right frame of mind and was ready to go today,’’ Bowman said.
“She’s been narrowly defeated in so many races and to get a win, I know it’s a Group 2 but against this calibre of horse, it’s no surprise.
“We got a great run. I was always going to. Chris (Waller) had the mare in tip-top order today, although I do think she will improve with the run.’’
Sydney’s reigning premier jockey and trainer then had an interesting exchange after Royal Descent’s win.
“She is happy, she is healthy, she can gallop, and she has you (Waller) looking after,’’ Bowman said.
“And you riding her — it’s a pretty good combination,’’ Waller replied.
Waller said Royal Descent will follow a similar program through to the Group 1 George Main Stakes next month.
“The George Main is ideal,’’ Waller said. “The Epsom, for $1 million, we have to look at it but she might get too much weight.
“I said to [owner] Gerry Harvey we will use Epsom Day whether it be the Turnbull or Epsom to decide where we go, whether we go further or whether we come back for a Myer Classic.’’
Magic Millions Class 6 winner Real Time (Testa Rossa/Bure Beauty 10 gelding) made a triumphant return to the track on Saturday winning the Catanach's Jewellers Handicap (1200 METRES) at his home track at Caulfield.
Allocated the big impost of 60kgs the son of Testa Rossa looked impressive running away for a length victory. After the race his trainer Robert Smerdon said he was looking forward to the upcoming months for this lightly raced horse. Real Time can be a touch “quirky” and Robert has managed to keep his mind on the job with great success with his record now reading 5 wins from 8 starts. Hopefully we will see him at the Magic Millions again in January this time aiming for the Magic Millions Cup over 1400m.
Centre Pivot, owned 50/50 by Gerry Harvey and Segenhoe Stud, will head to the paddock at Segenhoe Stud to concentrate on next year's rich Magic Millions carnival at the Gold Coast. John Sergeant confirmed Saturday's TAB.com.au Handicap at Rosehill would be the five-year-old's final start this campaign before he will be given a let up with a view towards the Magic Millions Trophy (1800m) on January 9.
"I'd like to give him this run and then he can have a nice break, three weeks, and get ready for Magic Millions day," Sargent said.
"It's a million dollar race and should suit him."
Centre Pivot was formerly trained by Sam Kavanagh and is one of the horses at the centre of the ongoing cobalt inquiry.
Sargent took over at the start of the horse's current campaign and initially feared cobalt had damaged Centre Pivot's feet.
"Probably at the start of it, he was losing a few shoes but now his feet have come good and he obviously proved he was over any side effects at his last start," Sargent said.
"He's right on top of his game now."
Centre Pivot bounced back from a first-up flop to score a determined win at Rosehill two weeks ago and Sargent said the horse's work indicated he had continued to improve.
Baramul Stud’s winner at the Gold Coast on Magic Millions Real Time has returned from a nice spell after his success. His trainer Robert Smerdon has been happy with his progress today and recently sent through this photo of the rising 5yo.
Hopefully all going well we can see him back at the Gold Coast for the $10 million Magic Millions Raceday on January 2016!
Royal Descent is back at the Chris Waller stable and looks as good as she ever has. Chris said this of the daughter of Mulan Princess this week “Last week for her was good. She had two three quarter pace gallops and both pieces of work were good and of the typical high standard that we have come to expect from her. She is moving freely and looks terrific and is on track for a trial around the 24th of July and then a second one on the 7th of August. She should be ready to resume in a race like the Warwick Stakes but being a mare, there is still the option to race her against her own sex. There is plenty of time to fine tune her preparation and if we were to target a fillies and mares event we would find one at set weights and penalties conditions. I am looking forward to getting her back racing and targeting some Group 1 races.”
Heart Testa is one of the most consistent performers you could ask for. He is on track for another good preparation after completing some pre-training with Tim Boland at Limitless Lodge who sent us this photo of him just before he left to return to Rosehill.
On a sad note Diamond Solitaire had to be retired to stud this week after fracturing a sesamoid. The 3yo daughter of Redoute’s Choice and Love and Kisses had only had 2 starts for a 3 and a fighting win only a couple of weeks ago on the 20th of June at Newcastle. She has lovely nature and will be sadly missed at Waller stable in the mornings. Chris had though she would keep on improving and come back at least a city class horse next preparation. As you can see she will make a lovely broodmare.
The Peter Moody trained Fifty Eight Facets has been racing constantly this preparation in Sydney this time. She has had 2 starts back and has run 2 very nice third placings in town and a second careers win does not look too far away for the lovely black daughter of Jewel Theft and Dane Shadow.
Betrayed, another daughter of Dane Shadow heads to Randwick trainer Ron Quinton this week to continue on with her education. She is out of the well performed Fair Embrace who left Group One placed Love and Kisses. Betrayed is a lovely type and can hopefully reach at least the heights of her mother and half sister.
Fillies Available for Lease
Gerry Harvey has the following fillies available to lease:
Chiquita Banana/Bel Danoro 12 filly
Coronation Crown/Bel Danoro 12 filly
Perfect Swindle/Duke Of Marmalade 12 filly
Please contact Claire Bird, Gerry Harvey’s racing manager for all enquires, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Baramul Bred horses have been performing well of late including the wins of Mrs Kennedy and Gerberas at the Newcastle and Gosford respectively
Mrs Kennedy is by Fastnet Rock out of Miss Jakeo and has shown that she needs a bit more ground than her Oakleigh Plate winning half sister Mrs Onassis. After her win at Newcastle she headed to Warwick Farm where she has no luck at all with Hugh Bowman aboard. Chris Waller her trainer said “She got back as per my instructions to Hugh Bowman, she settled in the last few and she was ready to finish off strongly but just got no room. They went very slow and sprinted home in 34.5 seconds which is very quick on a soft track. Hugh never had a chance to ask her to improve in the straight whatsoever. He got off the horse and was very impressed and said had she got room she would have flown home. That was good enough for me, when you have people like Hugh Bowman aboard their advice and feedback is second to none. I will save her for a race in three weeks' time which is a 1600m race for three year old fillies at Warwick Farm, this distance will suit her a lot better than yesterday's race. She will be able to sit closer to the speed and be a winning chance.”
Racing consistently has paid off for Gerberas who picked up a 2 length win at Gosford at her most recent start, with Brenton Avdulla aboard. In her last 5 starts she has collected three second placings and fifth and a well deserved victory. Marc Conners had said before her last start that he wanted to win a race with her before she went for a spell and Gerberas duly obliged. She has gone for a short spell at Bella Lodge in North Richmond.
The last day of the Championships at Randwick sees the return of Aussies Love Sport, who Gerry Harvey bred and owns 50/50 with Segenhoe Stud. Aussies Love Sport took out the 2013 Group III Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) when he was trained Gai Waterhouse.
His next preparation though was very disappointing with Aussies Love Sport failing to place from all of his starts. He was sent for a long spell and was transferred to the stable of David Vandyke at Randwick. Six months have passed since the son of Redoute's Choice last raced but Vandyke has been impressed with the way the horse has taken to his training.
"He’s going really well, been doing everything right,” Vandyke said. "We’ve drawn a good alley and Blake Shinn has got to know him at the trials.
"We’re expecting a solid first-up performance.”
"But we’re looking forward to having a good preparation and we’ll see what sort of job we’ve done.”
Also lining up on Saturday is Fontelina in the Group One All Aged Stakes. Fontelina had nearly a year off and has shown he is in line to recapture some of his previous Group One form. He ran home for 4th last start in the Group One TJ Smith Stakes. Anthony Cummings has to manage the chestnut son of Testa Rossa with care due to some soundness problems but so far he is looking to be getting back to the top of his game.
Another son of Testa Rossa who anyone would love to own is Heart Testa. Two starts back he picked up a very tough win in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes at Randwick and was far from disgraced when running 5th last start in the Star Kingdom Stakes at Rosehill, only being beaten by 3 lengths.
Chris Waller said of the consistent gelding, “He has been entered to race on Saturday in the Hall Mark Stakes which is a Group 3 race over 1200m at set weights and penalties. This doesn't suit us that well as we have 58kg to carry and some up and coming sprinters are in the race. The track should be ideal for us with a bit of give in it. We have had no rain so far and I don't want it to get wet, but if it was in the soft 5 range I would be more than happy. His work has been of a high standard, it looks like it will be a solidly run 1200m race which will suit us.” This little fight never goes a bad race so we know he will put his best foot forward on Saturday.
Royal Descent has now gone for a well deserved spell at Limitless Lodge. Her main aims were the Doncaster and the Queen Elizabeth finishing 3rd in both. She is such an honest mare and we look forward to getting her back in the Spring.
Royal Descent has been entered to race in the George Ryder Stakes and she has drawn barrier 6 in a field of 14. Chris Waller her, trainer is very happy with her progress saying” It's a nice draw in a very competitive race, there are only two mares in the event but it is the perfect lead up to the Doncaster in two weeks' time. Her work has been good and she is certainly fit and tight but she does race very well in those conditions, in fact she is a little bit heavier than she was when she ran those fantastic seconds in the spring which were similar class races. So I am looking forward to an improved performance from her first up run so I think under these conditions and it being a little bit further I certainly think she will be competitive.”
Here is hoping she runs a much improved race to give the winner of the “Own A Champion” Competition a great chance in the Doncaster in 2 weeks time. More information about this competition can be found at http://ownachampion.com.au/
Former New Zealand mare Telepathic is also down to race at Rosehill on Saturday. She has been entered to race on Saturday in the Epona Stakes over 1900m where she has drawn barrier 5 in a field of 11. It is a nice gate and Glen Boss is aboard. Chris has said or Telepathic “She should get a lovely run from that gate and be ready to finish off strong and attack the line a little better than she did last start. I think it is a nice race for her and she should be peaking now, third up from a spell. Although she hasn't won beyond a mile I feel the 1900m distance will be a good opportunity for her to pick up some black type, as some of the races as a three year old she finished off well, suggesting that the 1900m or further wouldn't be too much of a problem. It will be a good test for her, it is interesting that she has won over 1200m and a mile so if she doesn't fire at the 1900m distance we will bring her back in trip for some black type through the carnival. I think she will be fine and she will be very competitive in this race.” Also in her favour is the fact that the track will not be too hard as she tends to feel the ground a little and any rain on the day will be a great help to both Telepathic and Royal Descent for that matter.
In the Group One Galaxy over 1100m on his home track, Heart Testa lines up in a very strong field, Christian Reith has been booked to ride as. Unfortunately he has drawn barrier 16 in a field of 14 plus three emergencies which isn't going to make the job easy, Chris Waller, his trainer, says “From the gate I think we have to go back and get some cover and see how he finishes off. If we were to go forward in a speed race with very good horses I feel it would be detrimental to his chances of finishing the race off especially coming back to the 1100m journey where he is going to be out paced in the early stages anyway. The horse is looking in great shape and his work has been good, he just needs some luck on Saturday. He is one of the most honest horses going around and we know no matter what he will try his hardest!
In Victoria the main meeting is at Bendigo and Baramul have Chivalry entered in the Bendigo Guineas, a Listed race over the 1400m. His trainer, Mark Kavanagh, has decided to drop him back in class a little to try and get a win on the board for him
Chivalry has drawn 16 and Damien Lane is on board and this looks like a good race for him. There should be some speed on and the Bendigo track is quite spacious which should suit him well. Mark said his work this week has been super and he should be an excellent each way chance here.
A few of the Baramul bred horses with carnival hopes are due to kick off their Autumn campaigns shortly.
Royal Descent has travelled back from Melbourne and had a stint with Tim Boland at Limitless Lodge at Wyong before return to Chris Waller’s Rosehill base. Chris has said of Royal Descent “She looks fantastic and has come back stronger, moving freely and a little bit more relaxed. She currently weighs 510kgs and looks terrific. She did come in last preparation around the 515kg mark but quickly came down to below the 510kgs. I think now that she is more mature we can hold her up around that 510kg mark which will give her a bit more strength and a bit more speed. We will steadily step her workload up so that she is trialling on the 17th of February and the 3rd of March ahead of her first up run which I expect to be the Coolmore on the 14th of March through to the Emancipation on the 28th, the Queen of The Turf on the 11th of April and more than likely to the Hollindale Cup over 1800m on the 25th which is a $350,000 race at the Gold Coast leading into the Doomben Cup worth $650,000 in early May. There are some very nice races there for her including Group 1's” Hopefully she can stick her nose out a little further this preparation and pick up a deserved Group One!
After racing without luck twice in the Spring, Telepathic spelled and was then transferred to Chris Waller to continue her racing career in Australia. She should be ready to trial on Tuesday the 20th of February and then Chris is hoping to get her to the track in early February with some black type races in mind for her soon after that.
Peter Moody has two lovely fillys that have both won well at their last visit to the races. Bella Morena, who is by Big Brown out of St Kiara went to the races at Bairnsdale with Linda Meech on board and was looked good when winning by ¾ of a length. She will improve greatly from the experience and Peter is looking at taking her to Sandown on the 26th of January next start and just working through her grades
Fifty Eight Facets (Dane Shadow/Jewel Theft) finally broke through for her maiden win at Sandown on the 7th of January. She has promised much but could just not break through so it was really good to see her come away with a dominant win. Peter is thinking of heading to Tasmania to chase some black type for her down there.
Real Time (Testa Rossa/Pure Beauty) provided Gerry with a win on his own Magic Millions raceday, which he was very excited about. After he won at his second start this preparation the thought was raised with Robert Smerdon his trainer about a trip to Queensland and he duly prevailed. He has gone to the paddock now with thoughts of chasing some better races when he returns.
UNLUCKY ROYAL DESCENT SECOND AGAIN!
Royal Descent was again beaten in a tight photo finish in the Epsom Handicap on Saturday the 4th of October, it was her fourth similar placing in feature Randwick miles this year and her fourth second in all her starts so far this preparation.
She has finished second to Sacred Falls in the Doncaster Mile and George Main Stakes, and was beaten by Hawkspur in the Chelmsford Stakes.
The aggregate margin of her four defeats is just two lengths yet it has cost her owner Gerry Harvey almost $1.7 million prizemoney.
Royal Descent’s and Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller leapt to the defense of Royal Descent after another heartbreaking defeat in the Epsom.
“It is very frustrating, the horse is trying so hard,’’ Waller said.
“She doesn’t know she is running second by a nose so you can’t call her a non-winner.
“She is running in the best races against the boys with big weights.”
She will now head down the Hume Highway to Waller’s Melbourne stable at Flemington to prepare for a tilt at the Cox Plate. Chris thinks the 3 weeks between runs will be ideal for her and he has booked Hugh Bowman to ride her in the Moonee Valley feature.
At Randwick on Saturday the 11th of October there are five Gerry Harvey bred horses entered to race: Landlocked, Riva De Lago, Feast for Eyes, Our Boy Nicholas and Telepathic from New Zealand.
Landlocked (trained by Joe Cleary) and Our Boy Nicholas (trained by Toby Edmonds) are racing in super form at the moment, both being last start winners and both are expected to give a good sight on Saturday. However only one of them will keep the winning record intact as they are racing each other!
Telepathic who is in race 8 spent the winter spelling at Baramul Stud after her luckless campaign in Brisbane. She prepared for this race with a trial at Randwick on the 3rd of October and her rider Brenton Avdulla could not have been more impressed with her effort. While Brenton has another ride in the race on Saturday, the reins will be taken over by Sam Clipperton and she should get a lovely trip from barrier one. Telepathic also has great form first up and over the 1200m.
While Telepathic is no oil painting, you can not complain about her ability!
An interesting runner for Chris Waller is the 2yo, Feast for Eyes, who is by More Than Ready out of St Katherine. He was purchased at the Magic Millions in January 2014 for $250,000.00. He has shown good ability at the trials in Sydney and we look forward to him stepping out for his new owners.
Some more of Gerry’s retained 2yo’s have also made their way down to Sydney to the pre-trainers and we look forward to getting some of these beautifully bred babies to new trainers in the near future. The next lot to go to trainers includes:
Street Cry/Zali filly
Encosta De Lago/Gibraltar Diva filly
More Than Ready/Amalienborg
Swiss Ace/Katmai filly
Mossman/St Kiara filly
More Than Ready/Elle Duccio filly
Big Brown/Miss La Frenz filly
We cannot wait to see what these and the other Baramul bred runners can do in the 2014/15 racing season!
Spring is creeping up on us again with most of the Spring Carnival hopefuls back in work and a few promising horses popping their heads up.
ATC Oaks winner Royal Descent (Redoute’s Choice/Mulan Princess) was luckless in the autumn but has return in fine fettle to the stable of Chris Waller. After spelling very well at Baramul she headed to Olympic Three Day event rider Tim Boland at Limitless Lodge. Tim spent a lot of time working on building her up over her hind quarters with dressage work and trainer Chris Waller could not have been more happy with the result saying in his report today “She continues to please me and is holding her weight very well which is fantastic. This is the first sign of maturity I have seen from her and she's clearly better again than she was in the autumn. She had a three quarter pace gallop over 1000m on Saturday and then another this morning. She did some dressage work yesterday and from Saturday morning she will start full pace galloping ahead of her trial on the 1st of August and then a second one on the 15th. Her first up run will be the Warwick Stakes o the 21st of August and if that race didn't suit she could start in the Group 1 Memsie and that is two weeks before the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes around Moonee Valley which is an important race for us to give her experience around that track.”.
Royal Descents’ main aim this preparation is the Sportingbet Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on the 25th of October.
Chateau Lafaite, who is Royal Descent’s younger full sister is hopefully back on track after showing huge promise as a Spring 3yo. Unfortunately she contracted a virus in the Autumn and raced well below expectations. She was sent for a good spell and has had one trial back and is due for another on Friday the 11th of July at Warwick Farm and will kick off at Rosehill on the 19th of July and let’s hope “Fifi” (as she is affectionately know at the Waller Stable) gets her confidence back and shows us what she is really capable of.
An unraced Dane Shadow filly has shown Peter Moody plenty to get excited about at this stage. Fifty Eight Facets (ex Jewel Theft) has had a jump out at Caulfield and Peter was very happy with her saying “She went terrifically in winning her 800m barrier trial here at Caulfield by a comfortable 4-5 length margin in heavy ground. She was quick out the gates and sat in the first two throughout, going clear of the field in the final 200m in what was a very encouraging effort that suggests she will win her races” Fifty Eight Facets is a week or 2 from having her first start in a race. For those wondering where her name comes from – a brilliant cut diamond has 58 facets!
Felines (Conatus/Jellicles) has gone to the paddock after a great first preparation with Kris Lees at Newcastle. She had 4 starts for 2 wins and 2 seconds and although she proves to be a touch wayward at times she keeps improving and Kris has no doubt she will come back a much more mature filly next preparation. Her half sister by Flying Spur has just headed to Warwick Farm to be trained by 4 time Golden Slipper winning trainer Clarry Conners. Felines gets her name from the “Jellicle Cats” who appear in the musical Cats.
Spring is in the air with some excellent results for Baramul bred horses in recent days.
Royal descent is on track to have her first start of her spring campaign after a sensational trial at Rosehill on Monday the 6th of August. Ridden by Hugh Bowman, Royal Descent was allowed to find her feet early in the 900m trial and when she rounded the turn and balanced up she made up very good ground under her own steam and finished third. “I could not be happier with that trial” Bowman said, “ She is just a real racehorse – just does everything right and wants to please you, she looks like she is going to have a great Spring”
Royal Descent is pencilled in to start at Warwick Farm in the Toy Show Quality on the 24th of August.
Another horse who is in great form and may meet Royal Descent in the Toy Show is Next The Universe who ran a cracking second at Rosehill on Saturday the 3rd of August. Ridden by Jimmy Cassidy, she settled back as she usually does and found the line really well for 2nd behind.
Her trainer Kris Lees said “While she is up and going so well we may as well have a crack at a Stakes Race before she heads off to the breeding barn to try and get a bit more Black Type for Gerry”.