Given he hadn’t won a race in Adelaide before Saturday, Chris Waller could not have turned to a better ally for his only runner at Morphettville.
The Sydney-based Kiwi called on South Australian native Kerrin McEvoy to take the ride on Egg Tart in the $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Oaks.
The star rider, who grew up in Streaky Bay on the South Australian west coast, didn’t let down the champion trainer either, producing a brilliant ride to get Egg Tart home in the 2010-metre event.
“It’s my second Group 1 here. I won the Derby and now I’ve won the Oaks, so I’m really pleased to get it done for the owners and connections,” said McEvoy, who previously won the 2010 SA Derby on Kidnapped.
“This is Chris’s first winner here, so it’s nice to be getting good rides for Chris.”
The victory was just the third runner in South Australia for Waller – who is in the United States for the Kentucky Derby – and he has now won Group 1 races in every Australian state that conducts them.
It marked a rapid rise for Egg Tart, a daughter of Sebring who has now won five races on end, stretching back to a Canterbury maiden in November last year.
She was ridden by McEvoy in that maiden success and the staying prowess the two-time Melbourne Cup winner has long spoken of came to the fore.
She was back towards the rear near the inside rounding the home turn but McEvoy was able to forge a way clear inside the final 150m to power to victory.
The $3 second elect got home by a head from $2.80 favourite Kenedna, who was back with Egg Tart on the turn before charging home along the inside, with Ana Royale ($21) coming home strong to finish just a half-length back third.
“I was worried about getting clear,” McEvoy said. “I was travelling well and improving from the 600 onwards, but initially hoping to look to come to the outside from the 400m. But I was going that well that I ended up sneaking inside of heels and had to re-navigate back towards the inside.
“She did it quite soft in the end. She’s a filly that just kept improving and she relished the extra trip and she’ll stay further either to the Oaks (SA Fillies Classic, 2500m) here in two weeks time or onto Brisbane.
“She’s not overly big, so there’s a chance that she might just improve a bit more with another prep under her belt and there’s good options for her in the future that’s for sure.”
John Allen, rider of Kenedna, said he thought he had the race won when the gap came early in the straight but was just beaten by a better filly on the day, while Daniel Moor reported that $9 third elect Toffee Nose (ninth) was galloped on badly in the run. – Racing.com