Gai Waterhouse is going back to the future with Vangelic as she tries to add another record to her celebrated training career in the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
The Hall of Famer and her co-trainer Adrian Bott prepared Con Te Partiro to win the race last year, giving Waterhouse her fifth win in the feature race and a share of the race training record with the late Max Lees.
Waterhouse’s previous four Coolmore winners came when she was training in her own right and all were with fillies – Tuesday Joy (2007), Shamekha (2004), Bollinger (2003) and Assertive Lass (1997).
Racing’s first lady is relying on three-year-old filly Vangelic to enhance her Coolmore Classic record on Saturday.
Gai Waterhouse has won four Coolmore Classics with fillies. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
“This is a race I love, a 1500m test for the fillies and mares,’’ Waterhouse said.
“In horse terms, you have the young girls up against the older girls – it’s magical.
“But the fillies are very well-weighted in this race, I’ve had huge success with them and Vangelic fits that mould.’’
Vangelic has won only a midweek maiden on debut in 10 starts but her race record commanded she be given her chance in the feature race.
She has been placed in five stakes races including two Group 1 events – her third in the Flight Stakes back in the spring and her last start second to Forbidden Love in the Surround Stakes.
“Vangelic has raced against the best two and three-year-old fillies around and always run competitively,’’ Waterhouse said. “I thought her effort in the Surround Stakes was so good she should be given her chance in the Coolmore.
“The beauty of this filly is she handles all track conditions, she has drawn the right barrier and she has a lightweight.’’
Vangelic has the tactical speed to take full advantage of her favourable draw (gate five) and with jockey Kathy O’Hara able to ride the filly at 50kg, she does get in well at the weights.
She drops 6kg from her Surround Stakes second placing and meets the winner of that race, Forbidden Love, on 4.5kg better weight terms.
Kathy O’Hara will team up with Gai Waterhouse and her filly Vangelic in the Coolmore Classic. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Vangelic was three-wide without cover for most of the race last start and even though she was beaten three lengths, her run was full of merit.
TAB Fixed Odds price assessors have Vangelic at $12 in latest Coolmore betting behind her last start conqueror, Forbidden Love, the $6 favourite.
The Waterhouse-Bott stable are also represented by promising youngster Converge in the Group 3 $175,000 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m).
Converge, a son of English superhorse Frankel, won his only start at Warwick Farm in December. The gelding is among Golden Slipper nominations but is unlikely to back up next week, according to Waterhouse.
“We are not going to the Slipper with Converge, he is more a Sires and Champagne Stakes horse,’’ Waterhouse said. “They are the more suitable races for him. He’s a lovely type, not a big horse but compact, and he’s so relaxed, he’s a cool customer. I like him a lot because he’s uncomplicated but very competitive.’’
Waterhouse and Bott look likely to be relying on Swift Witness as their only runner in the Golden Slipper next week.
Swift Witness finished powerfully to just miss behind Glistening in the Reisling Stakes last week and is a borderline Golden Slipper starter.
“I feel Swift Witness has enough prizemoney to make the Slipper field,’’ Waterhouse said.
“She is a very, very good filly and is a far better chance in the Slipper than people think.
Gai Waterhouse is hoping Swift Witness (right) can make the Golden Slipper field. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“In the Reisling, she was a little slow to leave the gates but made up a lot of ground late. If she had jumped well, she would have settled closer and won the race.
“She is a lovely filly, very progressive. She is a big filly with a powerful shoulder and she’s tough. She came through last week’s race very well.
Yaletown, who is by Waterhouse’s 2015 Golden Slipper winner Vancouver, is a dual entry for a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday and the Group 2 $200,000 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.
Waterhouse said the stable is keeping an eye on track conditions to determine the Coolmore-owned Yaletown’s next start.
“We have a huge opinion of Yaletown,’’ Waterhouse said. “He’s going to get better as he gets out in race distance but he is a good, competitive chance in either race.’’
This was the same description Waterhouse used for the genuine Yao Dash who lines up in the Rosehill closer, the Cellarbrations Handicap (1350m).
Waterhouse also expects her dual Group 1-winning mare Shout The Bar to be a good each-way chance in the $5 million All Star Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Shout The Bar is $19 chance in a race where mares dominate the betting with Arcadia Queen the $3.40 favourite ahead of Probabeel at $4.20.
“This is a strong field but Shout The Bar is such an honest mare, she will put herself up on the speed and give herself every chance,’’ Waterhouse said. “She is a Group 1 winner at 1600m.’’
Originally published asClassic quest: Gai eyes ‘magical’ victory for Vangelic
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