Hugh Bowman produced a typical first-class ride to get Unforgotten home in the $1m Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick.
But after winning three Oaks’ already on Daffodil (2009), Sofia Rosa (2016) and Bonneval (2017) it was hardly surprising to see the champion jockey rate the Chris Waller filly perfectly after Hiyaam set a cracking tempo up front.
Hiyaam beat Unforgotten last start in the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill but the extra trip was what was needed and she edged past her rival in the final 100m and win by a length.
“She’s a shining star and today is an example of more to come because she’s a very good horse,” Waller said.
“It was a true test, but she’s very calm and relaxed and that’s what excites me.”
Unforgotten was impressive in beating up a couple of fields in November before Waller spelled her for an Oaks campaign, but disaster struck first-up when she finished last.
“I probably knew in December (she was an Oaks mare) but it all went pear-shaped in her first-up run but she bounces back so quickly with a second-up win and last start was a very good run,” Waller said.
“The only doubts were what causes it. She got a solid bump in the run and it’s often something like that which can upset them so that’s what I was clinging to.
“We went back to riding her conservatively. She showed no sign (about running the trip) just ability which gets a three-year-old well ahead of where they can get to as an older horse.”
Bowman didn’t panic when Hiyaam shot out to
“I was always confident because I had such a lovely run in transit,” he said.
“I worked her on Tuesday morning so I knew what she was capable of.
“I knew from the 400m that I had Hiyaam covered, but I wasn’t to know what was coming from behind me, but it would have been a monumental effort to come from behind and run me down because she was superb the last 500m.”
Unforgotten is by a Galileo mare and has Deep Impact blood in her, but Waller wasn’t sure what her spring targets would be.
“It’s hard to say. We’ve seen how much success we’ve had with Winx and we won’t rush her to step her up to a Caulfield Cup. We’ll just see how good she comes back as a four-year-old first,” he said. – Matt Jones, The Sunday Telegraph