On a red letter day for trainer Chris Waller, Kolding (NZ) (Ocean Park) has delivered on the big stage in the Epsom Handicap, narrowly beating New Zealand cult horse Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle).
In the process, he gave his Waikato Stud sire, Ocean Park, a richly deserved first Group One.
Waller-trained horses won all four Group One races in Australia on Saturday with Kolding’s win over the famous Randwick mile of special significance for trainer and jockey Glen Boss.
Kolding and Te Akau Shark were the $5.50 equal favourites but the winner had four kilograms in his favour which told in the end with the margin a short head.
The Waller-trained Star Of The Seas (NZ) (Ocean Park) finished three lengths third.
Waller’s first Group One win came in the 2008 Doncaster with Triple Honour (NZ) (Honours List) ridden by Boss with the jockey’s record in the two famous handicaps now at seven Doncasters and four Epsoms.
“It started with Triple Honour,” Waller said.
“That gave me the confidence to be where I am now. Bossy did a great job that day. It has been an amazing ride since.”
“I’ve got a great team behind me. We’ve grown with numbers. They work tirelessly behind the scenes. I can’t thank them enough around the country. Many people put in what we finally see on race day.”
“The Randwick Miles are races people talk about and owners want to win. Being such a big race, big field, there are so many of chances. We’ve been lucky to come out in front a few times. It’s a great spectacle.”
For Boss, the win reinforced his decision to return to Australia from Singapore.
“There’s real fears coming back to Sydney when you are trying to break back into what is probably the hardest market in the world,” he said.
“I wondered if I was making the right decision but it just felt right, it felt good for me, and when you are getting the support of Chris Waller, and riding his horses with light weights, that’s a big start.”
Boss said he had race plans in his head but in the end he put his trust in his mount.
“You always have plans,” he said.
“There is A, B and C, but it’s just about trusting the animal really.
“He was very good, that was soft, when he got clear he loafed and when Te Akau Shark came up to him he surged.
“Another furlong and he wouldn’t have been beaten. I just couldn’t believe how easily that mapped out.
“It’s been a long while since I’ve had a race where at no stage did I feel like I was going to get beat.”
Te Akau Shark’s rider James McDonald found it hard to believe he had been beaten.
“I thought he was the winner for sure and I still can’t believe he got beaten,” he said.
“I’m very proud of him.”
Kolding has emerged as the latest New Zealand-bred star for Queensland owner Neville Morgan, who also enjoyed success with multiple Group One-winning New Zealandbreds Kermadec (NZ) (Teofilo) and Rangirangdoo (NZ) (Pentire), with the latter also an Epsom winner.
Kolding was bred by Warren Pegg in partnership with Wentwood Grange, who sold him at the 2017 Premier Sale at Karaka for $170,000. Wentwood Grange’s Hawkins family also bred and sold Kermadec four years earlier.
“It’s a fantastic result, and that combination of Guy Mulcaster buying our yearlings and Neville Morgan racing them seems to be working extremely well,” stud manager Dean Hawkins said.
“We were so pleased that they decided to come back to the well again after Kermadec, and we’re thrilled that they’ve got this result with this horse.
The Wentwood team are delighted to share the accolades with Pegg, who has been involved with the farm since the beginning.
“Warren was actually our very first client when Wentwood Grange first got started,” Hawkins said.
“A few years ago he decided to stop breeding horses on his own, so we started to breed in partnership with him.
“He’s been a wonderful client for such a long time and has become a close family friend. It’s fantastic to share this result with him.”
Kolding is out of Pegg’s Danzero mare Magic Star, who had previously produced two other stakes winners – the Listed Counties 2YO Challenge Stakes (1100m) winner Miss Upstart (Snipperson), and the well-performed stayer Sampson (Dubai Destination), the winner of 11 races including the Gr.2 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m), Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) and Listed New Zealand St Leger (2600m).
A filly by Iffraaj was sold by Wentwood Grange for $150,000 during last year’s Book 1 sale.
Meanwhile, the win was the biggest so far for Waikato Stud’s up-and-coming stallion Ocean Park, who had previously been represented by a further 14 stakes performers including Rondinella, Another Dollar, Mongolianconqueror, Arrogant and now Star Of The Seas, who were all placed at Group One level. -NZ Racing Desk