One of Sydney’s most improved mares Catkins lived up to her good Spring form to win the Group 2 $175,000 NSW Thoroughbred Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill today.
Catkins was having her first start since being beaten a whisker by high class stablemate Red Tracer in the Group 1 $500,000 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on November 2 and she has carried that form into the Autumn.
Hugh Bowman tracked leader Steps In Time ($6.50) all the way and knew he had her covered even though Catkins ($3.90) waited to the last stride to put her nose in front and deny the Joe Pride trained mare her third consecutive Breeders Classic win.
Speedy mare Steps In Time has won the last two runnings of the Breeders Classic under the care of Randwick trainer John O’Shea and a win today would have been a great result for Pride who was saddling the Danehill Dancer mare up for the first time.
“I was pretty confident. Memories flowed back from last year when I was on Red Tracer, circumstances were almost identical, similar track conditions,” Bowman said.
“I just tried to keep her balanced and keep her fighting, cause I could feel I had the measure of the other one at about the one hundred metre mark.”
“She’s a different horse with the blinkers on and she gave me a lot of confidence through the run.”
“She’s a good horse Steps In Time. She’s won it the last two years and she’s a horse I respected going into the race and she ran up to her consistent self.”
Liam Prior, representing the Chris Waller stable, said that Catkins deserved the win after racing so well during the Spring.
“She did a marvellous job in the Spring and she’s returned in great order,” Prior said.
“She tries very hard, honest as the day is long.”
Prior also gave praise to Bowman’s well-judged winning ride that saw Catkins arrive just in time to get the judge’s decision.
“Full credit to Hughie, he popped her out off the fence just at the right time and she really knuckled down,” Prior said.
“Our mare is certainly on the way up and I know Chris has big aspirations for her through the Autumn.”
The John O’Shea trained White Sage was sent out the $2.40 favourite at her first test in Group company and even though she tried hard was never a winning chance before finishing third, less than two and half lengths from the winner.