The affection Chris Waller has for his horses was evident on two fronts after Catkins cruised to her 15th career win in the Group Two Emancipation Stakes.
Sydney’s most consistent mare is clearly also a stable darling, with Waller marvelling at her incredible will to win after she made the race a one-act affair at Rosehill.
“You make excuses for the other horses in your stable, you don’t make any excuses for this horse. She makes her own luck,” Waller said.
“She won with a little bit up her sleeve.”
Her victory was a bright spot on what had been a bleak morning for the stable, which lost Epsom Handicap winner He’s Your Man.
The gelding collapsed and died after completing a routine track work gallop on the Rosehill course proper and Waller was still coming to terms with his death.
“It was a pretty sad morning. We obviously work very closely with our horses. They mean so much to us,” Waller said.
“The only saving grace I’ve got is it was very peaceful. I gave him a pat, but it’s tough.”
Not much appeared tough for $1.55 favourite Catkins, which stalked leader Any Day Will Do before zipping to the front at the 200-metre mark to score a 1-3/4 length win over Amanpour ($16).
Gypsy Diamond ($20) stuck to her task for third another half neck away, while Melbourne visitor Madam Gangster, a betting ring firmer from $7.50 to $6.50, did her best work late for fourth.
Catkins will have her next start in either the Queen Of The Turf (1600m) at Randwick on April 11 or the All Aged Stakes (1400m) a week later when she will chase an elusive Group One win.
James McDonald made a cheeky bid to ride her wherever she goes after deputising for the suspended Hugh Bowman in the Emancipation Stakes.
“I don’t have any words to describe her enough. She is just an absolute superstar and I really hope she gets that Group One win,” McDonald said.
“They should leave me on her.”
Gai Waterhouse believes Amanpour is building towards a peak performance which she predicts will come once the mare gets to 2000-metres.