Unforgotten heir to Winx’s throne
CHRIS Waller trains the nation's best racehorse. He might train the second best, too.
Both were on show at Royal Randwick - Winx cruising home in her barrier trial before stablemate Unforgotten producing a stunning effort to win the Group 2 $250,000 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).
Champion jockey Hugh Bowman's first words to Waller after the race were succinct: "She is pretty good, she is a Group 1 horse!''
Unforgotten, winner of the ATC Australian Oaks last season, showed she is going to a major player in any race she contests this spring carnival when she overcame an interrupted passage in the straight to score a brilliant win.
"She is very special. She showed that in the autumn and the Oaks was very special in itself,'' Waller said.
"But to have that acceleration over a mile was very pleasing to see.''
Waller prepared his fifth Chelmsford winner in seven years when Unforgotten ($3.80 favourite) split the pack and sprinted away to win by one-and-a-quarter lengths to a very gallant Ace High ($21) with Libran ($41) a short half head away third.
Unforgotten is part-owned by Peter Tighe, who also shares in the ownership of Winx, and Waller said he will try to keep the two mares apart as much as possible this spring.
"To be quite frank I would be running Unforgotten in the Epsom and go to the Cox Plate with her if it wasn't for Winx,'' Waller said.
"We won't be taking on Winx, I can tell you that, but she is a very well-bred filly out of a Galileo mare and she's already proven at 2400m. The Caulfield Cup sounds like the right race for her.''
Bowman said he was concerned when Unforgotten was held up for a run near the 300m.
"I knew if I got through she would sprint quickly,'' Bowman said.
"She just looks magnificent, it's lovely to be back on her. She put the writing on the wall when she won the ATC Oaks here in the autumn, the world is her oyster.
"I wouldn't imagine she would be beating Winx anytime soon but there are plenty of nice races for her."
Ace High's effort to bounce back from his Winx Stakes flop and finish second was outstanding considering the stayer was three-and-four wide all the way.
Trainer David Payne was encouraged by Ace High's return to form and is also aiming the four-year-old at the Caulfield Cup.
"He will go to the Kingston Town Stakes and then the Hill Stakes,'' Payne said.
"He just needs to get out to 2000m and further.''
Libran, a stablemate of the winner, ran a blinder to come from near last and run third, indicating he is on track for races like The Metropolitan and Melbourne Cup.