The Gai Waterhouse-trained duo of Greatwood and Bonfire stamped themselves as stayers to watch with a one-two finish in the 2014 Premier’s Cup at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
Waterhouse predicted before the race that the imported stayers would quinella the race in just their second race starts in Australia and her prediction proved correct when the pair were far too strong for their rivals in the final stages of the Listed race.
Greatwood started his Australian racing career with a third place finish behind Entirely Platinum in the Canterbury Hurlstone RSL Handicap at Rosehill Gardens on August 16 and clearly relished the step-up to 1800 metres to record his maiden race win in Australia, while Bonfire made up good ground late to finish second.
Waterhouse said after the race that Greatwood would remain in Sydney for the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 4, while Bonfire will be sent to Melbourne to contest the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 11.
“You just keep following these horses,” Waterhouse said.
“These are two outstanding stayers and did you notice the way that Greatwood got into his rhythm and he was just bowling along.
“The second horse just got a little bit held up there and Tommy rode a very dawdling sort of race and he didn’t really put the pressure on.
“To find them is Rob’s (Waterhouse) department, to purchase them is Adrian Bott’s and then to knock some shape into them again is the job of the lady trainer.
“I love a challenge and they have both been challenges.
“I got such a kick out of the way they ran.
“I will probably ship one to Melbourne for the Caulfield Cup and I’ve said Bonfire all along.
“Greatwood I will keep here for the Metropolitan.”
Jockey Tommy Berry was most impressed with the Australian racing debut of Greatwood and was full of confidence heading into the Premier’s Cup with the former Luca Cumani-trained galloper.
The talented hoop compared Greatwood to the likes of 2012 Metropolitan Handicap winner Glencadam Gold and believes that the Manduro gelding still has plenty of improvement left in him heading further into the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
“I was very pleased with in his first-up run,” Berry said.
“You don’t see the European horses come and do what he did first-up and he was beaten by a good horse in Entirely Platinum.”
Waterhouse is chasing her ninth win in The Metropolitan after she first won the race with Te Akau Nick in 1992.