The Benchmark 90 Handicap at Randwick has turned into a race impossible for Chris Waller to lose.
Three scratchings before Saturday’s race left the premier Sydney trainer with the only three runners to share the $100,000 prize money but $1.55 favourite Up ‘N’ Rolling and jockey Kerrin McEvoy were quickly put to the test.
Outsider Veladero ($8.50) with Blake Shinn aboard steamed ahead early in the 2000m race but Alward ($3.10), ridden by Brenton Advulla, powered home to win by 1-3/4 lengths.
“I think he (Shinn) would have thought at the turn that he might have ridden the perfect race. He gave his horse every chance,” Waller’s racing manager Charlie Duckworth said.
“It was a great ride by Brenton and obviously a winning ride. I think it was a very exciting race for only having three horses in it.”
Duckworth said the race was certainly more exciting than when Winx won the three-horse Caulfield Stakes in 2016 by two lengths from Black Heart Bart, with He Or She another four lengths third.
“At the point of the turn, I think there would have been some money traded on all three of the horses so that’s exactly what we want to see with racing,” he said.
“Great to have the team firing on song and for them all to run a competitive race.”
He said the decision to run any of the three in next week’s Craven Plate, a Group Three over 2000m at Randwick, remained with Waller.
“It’s probably just a bridge too far at this stage,” Duckworth said.
“If he thinks one can back up then of course it can but I’d say it was a tougher race then we would have thought considering it was just three runners.” – AAP Racing