A STAYER WITHOUT A DOUBT Top performance not easily forgotten
IN A week where her sire Fastnet Rock reclaimed his mantle as king of the sales ring, Unforgotten showed serious staying potential in a powerful ATC Oaks performance at Randwick yesterday.
The Chris Waller-trained filly gunned down her Vinery Stud Stakes conqueror Hiyaam, relishing a testing 2400m.
Waller said he had some reservations about 2400m, and jockey Hugh Bowman revealed he doubted Unforgotten was the right horse for the Oaks early this campaign.
“I haven’t had a lot to do with her this preparation. the team said she was our Oaks filly but after her trials I wasn’t convinced,” Bowman said.
“After her first-up run I still wasn’t convinced, but from then, once she’s got out to a suitable distance ... they know what they’re talking about, the Chris Waller stable.”
The champion rider now holds a different opinion, telling Waller she has the talent to develop into a serious older horse. “Only time will tell the class, but you’ve got something to work with,” Bowman said.
Unforgotten has a strong Queensland link, with her owners including Peter and Patty Tighe of Winx fame and their close friends Noel and Maria Greenhalgh.
Unforgotten races in Greenhalgh’s Irish colours, but the couple missed the race because they are now holidaying in Rome. FAST FINISHER: Jockey Hugh Bowman pumps his fist, after Unforgotten’s win in the Oaks. Picture: AAP
“Noel also raced Amicus with us, but that’s the first Group 1 win in his colours,” Waller said.
“He rang us at 4am this morning he was that excited.”
Waller said he was a little worried in the run when Unforgotten settled so far off the speed.
“You never stop worrying in this job. Yeah, of course, I was,” he said.
“When I did see that speed, like everybody else, the first question was her stamina and whether that would hold up for a three-yearold filly. You don’t know until you run it.
“I think she has a very bright future. The most exciting part of this win today was, like two starts ago, that she was brave. It’s fantastic.”
Hiyaam was brave in defeat, setting up the fastest ATC Oaks in history on a day where leaders really struggled running into a headwind down the back. “She is very tough. That wind fired her up a little bit down the back and down the side,” Hiyaam’s jockey Michael Dee said. “I needed her to relax for another furlong and that may have been the difference. She is so tough.” Fastnet Rock was the leading sire by average at last week’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, where his progeny included the $2.3 million sale topper. Unforgotten joins Mosheen as an Oaks winner in Australia, for the stallion who also sired the 2015 Epsom Oaks winner Qualify.