Chris Waller managed to quinella the Group 1 Kennedy Mile at Flemington on Saturday, but once again Tom Melbourne found one better after being overhauled late by stablemate Shillelagh.
Tom Melbourne had finished second seven times since his last win in the Albury Cup about 18 months ago but looked set to break that run when he dashed clear, only for Shillelagh to finish too strongly and make it eight.
Glen Boss, who was called up for the ride from his Singapore base, said after the race that it had panned out perfectly for the former Irish galloper.
“I gave him a winning ride but he managed to find one better,” he lamented.
The win of Shillelagh was the second Group 1 of the spring for the emerging former Kiwi rider Michael Dee, who won the Metropolitan in Sydney on Foundry.
Dee said he was pleased for the opportunity and delighted to have cashed in on it.
“I just can’t believe it,” he said. “I was very lucky to pick up the ride for Mr Waller and the team.
“Winning any race on Derby Day is special and winning a Group 1 race is fantastic. We’ve had a bit of luck in recent weeks but it doesn’t get any better than Derby Day. Every state in Australia has their iconic days and Derby Day in Victoria.
“(She had) 52kg on her back, and never once in the race did I think she was going to get beat. She just tugged me everywhere I wanted to go, she was too good.
“I was able to get on the back of the right horse, and he took me far enough into the race, and she just let down very good and was too tough in the end.”
Waller was happy with the win but noted that he could have doubled his success if he had put Shillelagh in the Myer Classic for mares.
“We might have won both races,” he said. “She’s a good horse that’s gone to a new level this preparation in my opinion.
“She came to me from New Zealand in good form owned by Mr Grace and his wife. It’s a fantastic story, they’re only an hour up the road from where I’m from (in New Zealand), one of my cousins actually works for them so it’s a very special win.”
As for Tom Melbourne, Waller said: “He’ll get another chance. Tom was a bit keen in the early stages but gee he fought on bravely.”
As for the next attempt at winning a race with the galloper: “I don’t know, he goes too keen for 2000 metres. Maybe we’ll have a gear change or something like that. I’ll speak to Mr (Terry) Henderson, he’s got a good idea about these races and we’ll see how we go.” – Racing.com