VRC Oaks toast for Waterhouse, Bott and Baster with Pinot

Randwick trainer Gai Waterhouse corrected an anomaly in her outstanding career when with co-trainer Adrian Bott she won her first $1m, Group 1 VRC Kennedy Oaks (2500m) after Pinot under Stephen Baster took the race in accomplished fashion at Flemington on Thursday.

Pinot and Stephen Baster to the line, picture

Baster settled the Pierro filly in second as Kerrin McEvoy on Rimraam set the pace to make it a true staying test, particular as in earlier races on the programme leaders has been hard to pull back.

The heavily backed and $1.85 favourite Aloisia (NZ) with Luke Nolen settled in fourth behind Circuleight and Michael Walker and the race was set for a finish of the fittest with stamina.

As the field went through the bottom turn Baster moved Pinot outside Rimraam and he watched carefully as Nolen sent Aloisia up alongside them to make a move for the lead. Baster continued to watch Aloisia and Nolen to his right, all the while not letting Pinot go.

Inside Rimraam was feeling the pace and distance and could not maintain her lead, while wider out Luvaluva (NZ) and Blake Shinn arrived for their challenge racing in the middle of the track.

Finally, with another look, Baster decided that Aloisia was not making sufficient headway and it was time to allow his filly to stride forward with 300m to run. Bring Me Roses and Luke Currie then made a determined run, but it was Pinot who was better with Baster asking for the final effort.

Pinot went clear and the race was hers with a clear 1 1/4L margin at the line over Bring Me Roses (High Chaparral) and Currie with Hiyaam (NZ) (High Chaparral) and Michael Dee making a long sustained run to finish third, the margin 1 1/2L. Luvaluva was fourth, Miss Admiration fifth and Aloisia was sixth.

Baster knows he and Pinot have the win, picture

The time was 2.37.25 on the Good 3 track with the final 600m in 35.05. Pinot paid $5.50 on fixed odds and $5.70 on the NSW tote.

Significant wagers including multiples were not successful when Aloisia failed to stay while one wager of $142,500 @ $1.70 for a place on Pinot was made minutes before the race. One notable astute multiple wager made on October 10th was a $90 Double @ $56 [to collect $5,040] on Redzel (TAB Everest) into Pinot for the Oaks.

The win was the fourth for the Waterhouse, Bott and Baster team over the past three days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival with earlier wins with Cismontane (NZ), Setsuna and Our Crown Mistress.

“She is very good, she kicked their brains in today. I got a bit of a fright when she did not jump out of the gates, but Stephen just took his time with her. He didn’t spend a penny, and the further she went, the bigger the margin,” said Waterhouse.

“It is very special. She came to Melbourne a maiden, with no accolades whatsoever. She ran a piddly sixth on her first start, but since then she has improved out of sight. She is just a gem, a real trainer’s dream. We have got our American contingent here, so they’re going to have a good time tonight.”

“When the pressure was on, she just kept finding more. It is like the two-year-old filly (Setsuna) on Tuesday, she rolled up her sleeves and kept finding more. On Tuesday night, my husband said to me: “That’s like the Gai horses of old.” She kept pulling out all the stops, and it was the same with Pinot today,” she said.

“We were very confident about her staying ability going into the race, and that gave Stephen the confidence to make his move midway through the race. She’s rock hard fit, everything until now has been set for this race so it’s very rewarding for the stable to be able to pull this off,” said Bott.

“She (Waterhouse) is amazing. It is a very special win for her, and I am just delighted to be part of it,” he added.

“Absolutely unbelievable. She went up in the air from the gates and lost two lengths. But she switched off and relaxed, so I went to plan B and went round them. It went against everything I have been taught as a jockey, but we got an easy half mile and when they came, I knew we still had some gears left. She is just a dead set star,” said Baster.

“I have been riding a long time now, and there is no way I thought I wouild ride Gai’s first winner in the Oaks. It is amazing that she has not done it before. She is such a great trainer and she is so great for racing. She has got some lovely horses in her stable, and this filly is only going to improve,” he said.

Pinot, picture

Pinot, out of the Zabeel mare Dizelle, came into the Oaks after winning her last two races, including the Group 3 Ethereal Stakes over 2000m at Caulfield on October 21st over Rimaam.

She is owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners managed by A Wellman, Newgate Stud Farm managed by GD Murphy, well known bloodstock adviser James Bester and Waterhouse’s daughter Kate.

Pinot was purchased as a yearling for $200,000 from the draft of Coolmore Stud, who stand her sire Pierro, at the 2016 Easter Yearling Sale and along with her immensely valuable Group 1 win she has earned stakes of $728,275.  

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, picture

VRC Oaks, photo finish picture