Trainer Chris Waller has his sights set on next year’s Autumn Carnival with the consistent Catkins after the mare took out the Group 3 $150,000 Sportingbet Sprint Series Heat 2 Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield today.
Catkins was able to secure a win after being runner-up at her last two starts at Rosehill and Flemington and showed her tough fighting spirit to score by a half head over Hi Belle who put her head in front at the fifty metre mark.
Waller’s Melbourne representative Justine Hales praised Catkins for her toughness and expects her to handle distances up to 1600m next Autumn with the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill a likely target.
“She’s is very tough. She knows how to fight and she knows where the line is,” Hales said.
“Craig thinks she should be able to get up to mile because she is so easy to ride, she’ll settle and she just does what he what’s her to do.”
After jumping well from the outside alley, Craig Newitt eased Catkins back to fifth spot but wasn’t worried about being a little wide.
Newitt was then able to move forward on the home turn and even though Catkins ($2.90 favourite) ducked in for a few strides at the 250m and got headed by runner-up Hi Belle ($16), the Dubawi mare was able to get balanced again and regain the lead in time.
“She knows where the line is and that makes my job a lot easier,” Newitt said.
“I was prepared to keep a little bit wide the way the track is racing.”
“The second horse probably headed her half way up the straight, with the hood on she just spotted her again and knuckled down and on the line she was starting to draw away again.”
Newitt has the same thoughts as the Waller stable and is certain the mare will handle the longer distances.
“Over the 1400m at Flemington she settled really nice on a good speed. The winner just had a bit better turn of foot. She’s no worries about her running 1500, 1600,” Newitt said.