Awoke upset favoured stablemate Foxplay in a thrilling duel to open the Rosehill Gardens program on Saturday — and it is unlikely to be the last time these two promising fillies square off on raceday.
Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller indicated Awoke and Foxplay will be given their chance to measure up to the better class fillies races in the spring after they fought out the finish of the Tab.com.au Handicap (1400m).
“I will probably give both a short break now and then look towards the early fillies races in the spring,’’ Waller said.
“We did it with Winx a couple of years ago and she came out won the first race as a three-year-old.
“I’m not saying Awoke or Foxplay will do the same thing but we will give them their chance.’’
Winx won her first two starts as a juvenile including a Rosehill 1400m race on June 28 two years ago then resumed on September 6 to win the Group 2 Furious Stakes.
Awoke and Foxplay have earned their shot at the fillies Princess Series in the spring after staging a tremendous tussle over the final 300m.
Brenton Avdulla, riding in his first city race for three weeks due to a suspension, rode a stalking race on Awoke ($8 to $6) to run down Foxplay ($1.70 to $2.25) to win by a short neck. The Waller duo gapped the rest with four lengths to Cogliere ($15) with four lengths away third.
Awoke, who had won her debut at Newcastle’s Beaumont track, enjoyed a 2.5kg weight pull over Foxplay and Waller conceded that was probably the difference.
“I guess the 58kg told with Foxplay,’’ Waller said.
“Awoke had won a race, albeit at the provincials, and the weights and measures told the story.
“Awoke has done a great job to win her only two starts and I don’t think Foxplay lost any admirers. She fought hard and they had a real duel in the last 200m.’’
Avdulla, who is on target to win the NSW jockeys premiership, produced a textbook ride to win on Awoke, trailing Blake Shinn on Foxplay throughout the race then producing his filly at the right time to run down the favourite.
“The way Awoke travelled in the run I was confident we would finish top three then at the 250m I thought I had Blake covered as I had a lot of filly underneath me,’’ Avdulla said.
“Foxplay dug deep and made a race of it but Awoke was strong to the line. She is a lovely filly and in time she should make a good miler (a1600m) and further.’’
Shinn did nothing wrong on Foxplay, giving the favourite the perfect ride one-back with cover then cruising up to the leaders soon after straightening for home.
It seemed Shinn had plenty of horse underneath him and Foxplay did respond gamely under pressure, going with Awoke as they broke right away from their rivals.
“Foxplay was really game, she never stopped trying,’’ Shinn said. – Ray Thomas, The Daily Telegraph