Source: News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom
Master trainer Chris Waller is on track to shatter his own Group 1 record after Kolding’s fighting All Aged Stakes triumph added to his season’s haul.
Kolding was Waller’s 14th Group 1 winner for 2020-21 when he edged out Godolphin pair Savatiano and Cascadian in a thrilling finish to the $600,000 All Aged Stakes (1400m).
The Hall of Fame trainer can build on his Group 1 tally with plans to have a strong stable representation in the Adelaide and Brisbane carnivals in coming weeks.
Waller’s all-time best was 18 Group 1 wins set in 2018-19 breaking the previous Australian record of Tommy Smith who trained 17 major race winners in 1978-80.
Bart Cummings’s best was 16 Group 1 wins in 1974-75.
Verry Elleegant was Waller’s best big-race performer this season with five majors but Kolding has again held his own for the stable, as he had done for three years now, with a brace of Group 1 wins after his George Main Stakes success last spring.
“Kolding has been a groundbreaking horse with a Golden Eagle and Epsom Handicap win and then his weight-for-age wins,’’ Waller said.
“But he’s a horse that needs good tracks. I think he probably doesn’t get a lot of credit when he’s been getting beaten on wet tracks, which has been most of this preparation in fact.
“He is a much better horse in Sydney on the right leg. He’s a good horse and he showed it today.”
Kolding (left) fights off Savatiano to win the All Aged Stakes at Randwick. Picture: Getty Images
Kolding ($9), ridden by Brenton Avdulla, edged out Savatiano ($6) by a short half-head with Doncaster Mile winner Cascadian ($8.50) finishing fast for third a head further back with Prague also closing late for fourth.
Masked Crusader ($3 favourite) came from last to finish fifth, beaten just over a length and producing a brilliant final 600m sectional of 32.81s – the only horse in the field to break 33s for that split.
Waller was unsure if Kolding will join his Brisbane carnival team after the gelding scored his 11th career success from 30 starts, taking his prizemoney over $6.3 million.
“Will he be back? My word he will,’’ Waller said.
“But he’s a sprinter-miler so I’m not sure if there’s much in Queensland but he will be back in a Winx Stakes-type race providing we get a good track.”
Kolding’s win in the final Sydney Group 1 race of the season capped another outstanding autumn carnival for Waller. He has trained at least one Group 1 winner the last five Saturdays in a row including:
Brenton Avdulla lets out a cheer after winning aboard Kolding. Picture: Getty Images
Waller’s career Group 1 tally now increases to 125 – of which 25 were from Winx – and he moves past Lee Freedman (124) to be fourth on the all-time list.
Kolding’s win was Avdulla’s second Group 1 winner for the Waller stable. He rode the champion trainer’s stayer Come Play With Me to win the 2019 The Metropolitan.
“I’m lucky enough to ride for the stable. He puts on a variety of riders but it’s always nice to put the white bridles and white reins on for Chris Waller,’’ Avdulla said.,
“To ride a winner for Neville Morgan who has been a big owner for Chris is also a big thrill.
“I remember when I first came to Sydney. I was riding Secret Admirer against (the Waller-trained, Morgan-owned) Rangirangdoo so it’s a pleasure to ride a winner for them.’’
Avdulla said he has been wanting to ride Kolding for five years and was excited to ride the horse.
“A firm track and a good draw meant we lobbed just behind the leader,’’ Avdulla said.
“I felt in control a long way out when Tagaloa dropped off. I just had to get there and take my time. He lacks that turn of speed that he had a couple of preps ago but I felt the winner then Hughie (Bowman on Savatiano) was on top of him pretty quickly and got a head in front of me.
“To his credit he knuckled down when Savatiano challenged him. He toughed it out really well.
“To my bloke’s credit once he felt her there he lifted into another gear and showed his Group dominance.”
For the Godolphin stable of trainer James Cummings, it was a case of what might have been with Bowman admitted he was “disappointed” Savatiano had not held on to score while Jamie Kah said Cascadian produced an “amazing run, very unlucky.’’