On day two of The Championships at Royal Randwick, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) celebrated an elite race success when his outstanding 3YO daughter Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock-Memories Of You, by Galileo) outclassed her rivals when charging home from midfield to score a record-breaking win in the $1 million Gr1 Australian Oaks (2400m) for 3YO fillies, defeating Hiyaam & Miss Admiration. Unforgotten, who bounced back from an unlucky defeat to Hiyaam in the Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes, became the fastest Oaks winner in history setting a new race record of 2:27 seconds. She advanced her record to 5 wins (including the Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes) and 2 placings (including the Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes) from 9 starts for $1,095,520 in earnings. Trainer Chris Waller said the best was yet to come from Unforgotten. "I think she has a very bright future. The most exciting part of this win today was like two starts ago, she was brave. It's fantastic," Waller told Thoroughbred News. "We won't be rushing to step her up to a Caulfield Cup or a Melbourne Cup. We'll keep our sights low and see how she comes back as a four-year-old." Purchased by Waller for $360,000 at the 2016 NZ Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Curraghmore Stud, Unforgotten is out of a half-sister to French 1,000 Guineas winner Matiara.
Unforgotten became the fourth consecutive NZ Bloodstock graduate to win the time-honoured Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday. The sequence began in 2015 when Gust of Wind (Darci Brahma), a $90,000 Premier Sale purchase, beat subsequent superstar mare Winx to claim the race. Gust Of Wind is the last horse to defeat Winx who has now won 25 races in succession. The $65,000 Select Sale buy Sofia Rosa (Makfi) followed in 2016, then Bonneval (Makfi) last year. Bought for $150,000 at the 2015 Premier Sale, Bonneval was crowned New Zealand's Horse of the Year for 2016-17. Champion ex-pat New Zealand trainer Chris Waller secured Unforgotten for $360,000 at the 2016 Premier Sale, and the filly was quick to show promise with four wins from her first seven starts including the Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) in mid-March. Unforgotten was bred by Roncon and was offered by Curraghmore at the 2016 Premier Sale. Raced by Waller, Magic Bloodstock Racing, Mr F W Cook, Mrs C M Cook, Mr N A Greenhalgh, Mrs M T Greenhalgh, Mr R Shrimpton, Mrs C Shrimpton, Mr I Bruce, Mr R Smith, Mr P Y W Ng, Mr K H Warriner, Mr J T C Lake and Mr B L Mathieson, Unforgotten has now won five of her nine starts for $1,095,520 in earnings.
Chris Waller has no doubt that Australian Oaks favourite Unforgotten is a Group 1 calibre filly, he is just not sure whether tomorrow's fillies classic at Royal Randwick will be the race that sees her fulfil that potential. "She certainly has group 1 ability. We don't know whether that will be good enough to win this race because there are so many good fillies here," Waller told the Sydney Morning Herald. "The Kiwi fillies really make the race interesting because they have been over the distance in the Oaks over there...but we are confident in our filly's ability." Unforgotten first announced herself as a classic contender when stringing together four consecutive wins last season, and she has done nothing to diminish Waller's lofty opinion this time in recording a slashing win in the Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) before an unlucky last-start second to Hiyaam in the Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m). "She is one I have liked since the summer, when she won a few in a row, and this has been the target," Waller said. "She has came through the Vinery very well, where Hiyaam beat us fair and square. We got back and really there was no way we could make up the ground the way the race was run." He added: "I think at 2400 metres she will have the ability to be closer and we are hoping there is a little more pressure in the race because being out of a Galileo mare, she is going to stay the trip strongly." Unforgotten certainly possesses the pedigree of an Oaks filly being out of a Galileo half-sister to French 1,000 Guineas winner Matiara.
New Zealand trainer Michael Pitman is bullish about the prospects of smart filly Savvy Coup (Savabeel-Eudora, by Pins) claiming the trans Tasman Oaks double when she contests the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday. Savvy Coup has established herself as the dominant staying filly in New Zealand having posted impressive wins in the Gr3 Lowland Stakes (2100m) and Gr1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at her past two outings. Those are the same two lead-up races used by fellow Kiwi fillies Bonneval and Sofia Rosa before going on to claim the Australian Oaks in 2017 and 2016 respectively. "It's a well-worn path going through the Lowlands to the Oaks then the Oaks here," Pitman told racingnsw.com.au. "She has a good turn of foot. Her sectionals have always been pretty quick and she has good tactical speed that a lot of horses don't have." Pitman added: "It's a big bonus for us this one, already having the NZ Oaks in the bank." Savvy Coup is on the third line of betting for the Aust Oaks at $7.50 with TAB. The Chris Waller-trained Unforgotten is favourite in a relatively open race at $4.
Chris Johnson has been confirmed as the rider for Savvy Coup in Saturday week's Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick, reports NZ Racing Desk. Co-trainer Michael Pitman said Hugh Bowman had been approached for the mount, but he has opted to partner the Chris Waller-trained Unforgotten in the $1 million 3YO fillies classic. Johnson has an outstanding record with Savvy Coup (Savabeel-Eudora, by Pins) having ridden her in four of her five wins, including a comfortable last-start victory in the Gr1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham. Savvy Coup flies out for Sydney today.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Coolmore's deceased dual Derby-winning shuttler & 6-time Gr1 victor High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells-Kasora, by Dashaan) celebrated an elite race success when 3YO New Zealand-bred filly Hiyaam (High Chaparral-Mazarine, by Zabeel) was able to dictate in the lead before powering clear over the concluding stages to win the $500,000 Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) for 3YO fillies, over the unlucky Unforgotten & Aloisia. A homebred for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Hiyaam improved her record to 2 wins and 4 placings (including the Gr1 VRC Oaks & Gr2 ATC Phar Lap Stakes) from 8 starts for $477,740 in earnings. Hiyaam is now a $7 chance with TAB for Saturday week's Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick. "Even after the line I was still humming down the side. Bring on the Oaks, that's for sure," jockey Michael Dee told Sky Racing. "If she can get the lead and run in the Oaks she will be hard to beat." Hiyaam is out of the beautifully related Mazarine (Zabeel), a three-quarter sister to 2003 Vinery Stud Stakes winner Shower Of Roses from the Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes winner Marquise. This makes Hiyaam a granddaughter of legendary broodmare Eight Carat, dam of champion galloper and Australian Horse of the Year Octagonal, his exceptional but ill-fated triple Gr1-winning brother Mouawad, Gr1 VRC Sires' Produce winner Kaapstad, and Gr1 Railway Handicap winner Diamond Lover.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a Group race success when smart 3YO Australian-bred filly Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock-Memories Of You, by Galileo) opened her stakes account when charging home for a brilliant last-to-first win in the $200,000 Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) for 3YOs, defeating Holy Snow & Hiyaam. Unforgotten, who bounced back to from after suffering from cardiac arrhythmia first-up in the Gr1 Surround Stakes two weeks ago, improved her record to 4 wins and 1 placing from 7 starts for $307,020 in earnings. Purchased by her trainer Chris Waller for $360,000 at the 2016 NZ Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Curraghmore Stud, the well-bred Unforgotten is out of a half-sister to French 1,000 Guineas winner Matiara.
At Keeneland in the US, 3YO filly Lovely Maria (Majesticperfection-Thundercup, by Thunder Gulch) scored by 3.25-lengths for trainer Larry Jones in the US$500,000 Gr1 Ashland Stakes (8.5 furlongs) for 3YO fillies, over fellow fillies Angela Renee (Bernardini-Pilfer, by Deputy Minister) & Silverpocketsfull (Indian Charlie-Unforgotten, by Northern Afleet). This was the first Gr1 victory for Lovely Maria who took her record to 3 wins and 3 placings from 7 starts for US$402,600 earnings.
Former Coolmore shuttler Giant's Causeway (Storm Cat-Mariah's Storm, by Rahy) added a US graded-stakes success when 4YO daughter Swift Temper (Giant's Causeway-Glasgow's Gold, by Seeking The Gold) scored a 4.5-lengths victory in the US$150,000 Gr3 Gardenia Handicap (8 furlongs) for fillies & mares at Ellis Park in Kentucky. Swift temper (ridden by Victor Lebron for trainer Dale Romans) defeated fellow 4YO mares Marquee Delivery (Marquetry-Fast Delivery, by Little Missouri) & Unforgotten (Northern Afleet-Forgotten Secret, by Secret Slew). Overall Kentucky-bred Swift Temper now has 3 wins from 19 starts for US$189,679 earnings.