First emergency Durston takes Caulfield Cup honours

Source: TDN

The Waller camp’s feeling of disappointment after Nature Strip’s shock defeat in The Everest may have ebbed away quite quickly after witnessing Durston (GB) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) come from the clouds to see off all his rivals in the G1 Caulfield Cup.

The British-bred son of Sea The Moon (Ger) only gained a start in the race on Saturday morning after John O’Shea decided to scratch Maximal (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) due to the soft conditions and Durston took full advantage of the situation, storming home to chin Gold Trip (Fr) (Outstrip {GB}) on the line, handing Chris Waller his second win in the Group 1, having saddled Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}) to win the race in 2020.

Raced by Highclere Australia, Durston has very much been a work in progress since his arrival in Australia in August 2021, but he showed he might be a force to be reckoned with over the longer trips when he landed his first stakes race in the Listed Wyong Cup, before following up that win with a victory in the G3 Newcastle Gold Cup on September 16 and he was last seen running a sound race to finish sixth in the G1 Metropolitan H.

Jo Taylor, the stable foreman for Waller, said it had been a nervous wait on Saturday morning to see if the gelding made the field.

“Even this morning we kept watching, looking at the track rating,” Taylor said. “We suspected Maximal would come out but if the track had improved too much maybe he wouldn’t.

“He gained a start and at that stage we hoped the track would keep improving and bring a horse like this into the race.

“He’s been in such a rich vein of form, so to see him get this and for all the owners that have stuck with him for so long, it’s just a fantastic result for everyone.”

Speaking from Sydney, Waller described the win of Durston and the defeat of Nature Strip as the ‘highs and lows of racing’.

“Nature Strip was great only minutes ago, but we were deflated, but wow what an amazing win in the Caulfield Cup,” Waller said. “It’s a big deal. Durston, he’s a really decent horse. He looked like he needed a bit of luck getting out and he did get out, so a great ride from Michael (Dee).”

Waller confirmed the gelding would now head towards the G1 Melbourne Cup.

“He was strong the last 50 metres, so it is exciting heading towards the Melbourne Cup.”

Bred by Kirsten Rausing, who stands Sea The Moon at her Lanwades Stud in Newmarket, Durston is from the winning mare Caribana (GB) (Hernando {Fr}), making him a half-brother to Group 3 winner Cubanita (GB) (Selkirk {USA}), who was also placed at Group 1 level.

Further back the gelding derives from the same family as G1 Yorkshire Oaks winner Key Change (Ire) (Darshaan {GB}).

The gelding was purchased at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale by Blandford Bloodstock for 52,000gns (AU$88,400) in 2017.

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