Favourite punters started the New Year in the best possible when the Chris Waller trained Savacool (NZ) won the $50,000, Happy New Year Bm 71 Handicap (1800m), the first of the Australian Turf Club’s New Year’s Day programme at Randwick on Monday.
Backed into $3.70 on the tote and $3.80 on fixed odds the Savabeel three-year-old filly was confidently ridden by Blake Shinn and the only moment of concern was the stablemate Velocita under Glyn Schofield making a run out in the middle of the track.
Both had waited patiently down the back straight and across the High Street side while Falcon Island and Adam Hyeronimus, followed by Dark Dream and Jon Griesdale, led the field through to the top of the main straight.
Shinn had sent Savacool forward from the 600m three wide and she quickly levelled with the leader at the 300m. The race looked parcelled up at that stage. Dark Dream (53.5kg) kept going under Griesdale but Savacool (56kg) had her measure.
Then Velocita (56kg) came quickly out in the middle. Her progress looked threatening to the leader, but the Sebing filly was not able to sustain the run, and Shinn kept Savacool up to her work to make sure.
Dark Dream (All American) kept second over Velocita with the margins a short neck and a neck. The time was 1.51.55 on the Good 4 track with the final 600m in 34.12.
"She didn't win her last two but the writing's been on the wall that she's quite a progressive horse," Waller said.
"Blake gave her every possible chance and it was good to see her fight.
"She did make her run quite early and the challengers were coming a the the 200 but you could see her lower, dig deep and get away from them again."
Savacool will now head to Waller's Gold Coast stable and target races over the Queensland summer.
"Timing-wise it's probably best looking towards Queensland with her," Waller said.
Savacool, out of the Anabaa mare Chilled Out, was racing for the fourth time after winning on debut over 1400m at Newcastle back in November and then running two seconds in success at Canterbury, the last over 1550m on December 15th.
She has now earned stakes of $59,930 for the owners including Waller and Magic Bloodstock Racing, Mr F W Cook, Mrs C M Cook, Mr N A Greenhalgh, Mrs M T Greenhalgh, Mr R 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.
Happy New Year Bm 71 Handicap, photo finish picture ATC