For Chris Waller, watching the Doncaster Mile was like a dream.
A perfect dream as Sacred Falls went back to back in Australia’s most famous mile but also led home a first four for the stable. Royal Descent, Weary and Hawkspur followed him in, leaving Waller amazed.
‘‘Quite unbelievable, first four,’’ Waller said. ‘‘I guess it will sink in tomorrow. You honestly don’t think about that happening. It is just about getting the horses there at their best and hoping they can run to it, but that was enjoyable.’’
Back to back: Sacred Falls wins for Zac Purton. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Waller will look back on the last 200metres with pleasure in years to come. ‘‘As I remember it, Weary was in front and I could see Royal Descent had his measure and Sacred Falls was coming along the inside. He was just too strong at the line.’’
Sacred Falls almost came from the same place from where he made his winning charge to beat Pierro a year ago and had a half-length to spare on the line from Royal Descent with Weary 2 lengths back in third.
It could be the same this week in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes as Sacred Falls, Royal Descent, Hawkspur and My Kingdom Of Fife, which finished midfield, will back up and join Boban and Junoob.
While Waller was counting his sizeable percentage, Team Hawkes found out something about favourite Messene. ‘‘He’s hopeless in the wet. Never went a yard in it,’’ co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said. ‘‘We still have a very good horse.’’
Team Hawkes had the first non-Waller horse home in Ninth Legion. ‘‘He wasn’t happy in the ground, either but he did a great job.’’
The Doncaster has been a special race for Waller. Before he was the premier trainer in Sydney, it was the race that ‘‘changed his career’’ with Triple Honour in 2008.
Waller said Sacred Falls was an underrated miler. ‘‘A very good colt has won the race. He won it last year and beat Pierro,’’ Waller said. ‘‘I guess there could have been a bit of doubt about his class with the lighter weight but to come back close to the topweight this year, it really shows how good he is.
‘‘He’s an outstanding colt. Talk about $20m horses, this horse has been forgotten, he’s the next one don’t worry about that.’’
Waller had made some tough decisions before the races, scratching three-time group1 winner Boban from the Doncaster and star colt Zoustar from the T.J. Smith. ‘‘In my gut I knew that they were the right decisions to make but it doesn’t make it easier,’’ Waller said. ‘‘Everyone has been looking forward to this day and we get a wet track, which those two horses just don’t handle.’’
Sacred Falls failed to measure up during the spring being a couple of lengths off Boban in the Epsom and Emirates Stakes but Waller went back to basics, sending him back to New Zealand for a spell.
‘‘I just didn’t panic. That was the main thing, not just with this horse but any horse,’’ he said. ‘‘He’s a very good horse and just went a bit pear-shaped in the spring. We gave him a longer spell just to make sure he could be right for this race.’’
Zac Purton was a big part of the success with the the owners booking Hong Kong’s leading jockey because they wanted a rider who would commit for all three runs this preparation. ‘‘Zac was the owners’ call. He is owned by Asian connections who speak very highly of him,’’ Waller said.
Story by Chris Roots