Fiesta digs deep to enhance Golden Slipper credentials for Chris Waller

The Chris Waller-Kerrin McEvoy juggernaut rolled on relentlessly with the trainer and jockey making a clean sweep of the first three races at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

Fiesta was their third successive winner with her fast-finishing effort in the Group 3 $150,000 Widden Stakes (1100m), coming immediately after the successes of her stablemates Charlayne in the opener and Performer in the Canonbury Stakes.

Waller has never won a Golden Slipper but he is in the enviable position of having two very strong chances in the world’s richest juvenile race with Fiesta and Performer.

Unbeaten Performer remains second favourite at $8 for the Golden Slipper on March 24, although Fiesta was a big mover from $51 into $17 after her impressive return to racing.

McEvoy, who only returned to race riding on Friday night at Canterbury Park after a six-week hiatus recovering from a broken hand, was at his brilliant best making a weaving run through the pack on Fiesta.

“There was a bit of hustle and bustle involved early and Fiesta wanted to over-race a little with the blinkers on,’’ McEvoy said.

“I was concerned at the 500m that I might have used a bit of ‘gas’ in the early stages but as soon as the gap came for her in the straight, she was the winner.

“If I had got beaten, I still would have been happy with her run because of the energy she used up early so her win was full of merit.’’

McEvoy was reluctant to compare the Waller duo, Fiesta and Performer, describing them as “two very different types of two-year-olds”.

“But if I was the owner of either two-year-old I would be pretty happy seven weeks out from the Golden Slipper,’’ he said.

Fiesta ($3.90) finished powerfully to run down game debutante Adamina ($31) to win by a short neck with River Bird ($18) a good third, a further two lengths away.

Secret Lady was heavily backed into $3.10 favouritism but couldn’t cross from her wide barrier, was left four wide facing the breeze and tired to run seventh.

Waller said although Fiesta was still in the Blue Diamond he is more likely to concentrate on a Golden Slipper preparation, indicating the filly’s next run was possibly the Group 2 $200,000 Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on March 3. – The Daily Telegraph

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