The Chris Waller trained Vanbrugh was back in the winner’s stall for the first time in twelve months when he took out the Group 3 $150,000 Priceline Pharmacy Coogny Cup (2000m) at Caulfield today.
Vanbrugh last saluted the judge when he claimed a Group 1 victory as a three year old during the 2015 Sydney Spring Carnival in the $500,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.
Waller was glad to see Vanbrugh back in the winning list and said the step back up to 2000m today was what the Encosta De Lago four year old had been looking for following a Sydney campaign that saw him running over the shorter distances including a last start ninth to Hauraki in the Group 1 $1m Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 1.
“I kept him to the shorter distances targeting the Epsom last start which didn’t really quite go his way,” Waller said.
“Eventually we have got him back to a more suitable trip. 1800m he won the Gloaming Stakes in the Spring, followed up with a Spring Champion Stakes win. So he is a Group 1 winning colt and the 2000m has obviously seen the best of him today.”
Winning jockey Ben Melham has Vanbrugh ($5) travelling smoothly midfield and worked his way into the clear to tackle runner up Tom Melbourne ($4.80) at the 300m.
Those two horses cleared out to fight out the finish while the $2.60 favourite It’s Somewhat ran home strongly for third after being held up slightly at the top of the straight.
Waller was full of praise for Melham’s winning ride and expects him to have a bright future.
“He is a good young jockey and it was a gem of a ride.”
Waller hasn’t made any future concrete plans for Vanbrugh for the rest of the Spring Carnival but said he might consider running him in the Group 1 $2m Emirates Stakes (2000m), formerly the Mackinnon Stakes, at Flemington on November 5.
“We will be sticking to the 2000m distance,” Waller said.
“Being a colt and already a Group 1 winner we are entitled to aim a little bit higher, trying to continue to build that value. So who knows maybe the Mackinnon falls away, it would need to. He will be ready to go in whatever race eventuates.”