Twenty-five years after first winning a Sydney Cup, Gai Waterhouse was at it again on Saturday, this time bringing her training partner Adrian Bott and jockey Rachel King along for the ride.
King rode a faultless frontrunning race aboard import Knights Order to secure the $2 million race aboard the seven-year-old, who is a Northern Hemisphere son of dual Cox Plate winner So You Think.
He started at $8.50 on the Heavy 10 surface and ultimately had a two-length break over another import, Sheraz ($11), with Kiwi-bred Adelaide Cup winner Daqiansweet Junior ($26) in third place.
It was Waterhouse’s first Sydney Cup win since The Offer in 2014, after Linesman in 1997 was her first winner of the race.
“He loved the conditions, so I was really confident with him in regards to that,” Waterhouse said.
“He’s had a great lead-up building towards this particular race. He’s had plenty of miles, he’s proven over the two miles before, Brisbane Cup winner, so I was confident on a lot of fronts there.
“Just needed things to go our way in the race and when Rachel (King) was able to dictate in the way that she did, it was a really calculated ride by her, so she’s got to take a lot of credit for that.
“She was able to give him every chance and opportunity from there and he was too strong.”
Waterhouse explained connections have had to be patient with the horse.
“He was purchased out of there about two years ago, so he’s taken a good 12 months to acclimatise,” she said.
“But I think we saw the potential there with his win in the Brisbane Cup. It might have been too quick of a turnaround for him into the spring, he didn’t quite come up.
“But off a good break he was able to come here with fresh legs this campaign and we’ve been able to see what he’s able to do when he gets the conditions to suit.”
King was delighted to share the success with ‘the first lady of racing’.
“He was the nicest horse ever to ride over 3200m and to get one for Gai (Waterhouse), it means a lot definitely,” she said.
“She’s been such a huge supporter of mine and being apprenticed to her for so long, it’s just fantastic to get one for Gai and Adrian (Bott) and the team.”
Craig Williams said he had been confident of a good showing on runner-up Sheraz: “Chris and the stable were so bullish about this horse running to his benchmark best in Australia. He had one too fast for him and will improve.”
Kerrin McEvoy was delighted with the run of the Adelaide Cup winner Daqiansweet Junior: “Great run. He handled the ground well. Just got posted without cover which wasn’t ideal. Got into a lovely rhythm.”