Hugh Bowman in familiar pose after winning the Australian Oaks on Unforgotten.
Just as she had done when winning the Vinery Stud Stakes, Hiyaam took the race to her Australian Oaks rivals at Randwick today, but this time she had no answer to the final challenge from arch rival Unforgotten.
In the Vinery two weeks ago, Hiyaam was a defiant leader under Mick Dee and she took the 2000-metre fillies’ feature by nearly two lengths. The young Melbourne jockey was again tactically perfect today as he kept the pressure on to still hold the lead by a clear length at the 200-metre mark, but Unforgotten was simply too strong as she reeled Hiyaam in and raced clear by a length.
Outsider Miss Admiration took third two and a quarter lengths back, with fellow Melbourne filly Bring Me Roses fourth and Savvy Coup and Danzdanzdance the best of the Kiwi brigade in fifth and sixth place.
For the connections of Unforgotten, victory in the fillies’ classic was a great portent for what awaited them in the next race, the A$4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Unforgotten, whose pedigree combines the blood of champion stallions Fastnet Rock and Galileo, has the potent Chris Waller-Hugh Bowman partnership behind her for an ownership group headed by champion mare Winx’s part-owner Peter Tighe. She is also one of the few stable members that Waller also has a share in.
Winx was gunning for the 25th consecutive win of her fantastic career today, having last met defeat when second in the 2015 Australian Oaks. Victory today by Unforgotten therefore especially sweet.
“When I did see that speed, like everybody else, the first question was her stamina and whether that would hold up for a three-year-old filly it’s quite a long way 2400 metres and you don’t know until you run it,” commented Waller.
“She had the perfect run the way the race was run. The filly that ran second was the one who beat her home last time, so we knew that was the one to chase and it was good to see her get the upper hand. Full credit to the second horse to do it all the way.”
Apart from the trainer-jockey-ownership combination, the other common factor between Winx and Unforgotten is that New Zealand bloodstock agent Guy Mulcaster can take the credit for selecting both the sale-ring.
He signed for Winx as a Gold Coast Magic Million yearling at A$220,000, while Unforgotten cost $380,000 at the NZB National Yearling Sale at Karaka.
“She was offered by Curraghmore on behalf of Coolmore and my mate Trent Busuttin was the underbidder,” Mulcaster told www.theinformant.co.nz.
As in last week’s Australian Derby, the strong Kiwi contingent again failed to make the top placings. Fourth placegetter Savvy Coup was given a lovely trip by Chris Johnson tucked in behind the pace and had her chance.
Danzdanzdance, who loomed up alongside Savvy Coup with 300 metres to run, was likewise unable to find any more and had to settle for fifth. Contessa Vanessa weekend from a prominent position to finish ninth, one place ahead of She’s A Treasure.
The well fancied Luvalulva never got into the race and beat only two others.