Gai Waterhouse will aim last Saturday’s controversial Rosehill winner Woodbine towards the Group 1 $600,000 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 15.
Even though the odds on favourite was able to win the $85,000 Australian Turf Club BenchMark 74 Handicap (1200m), winning jockey Nash Rawiller was questioned about his riding tactics by chief steward Ray Murrihy.
Rawiller steered Woodbine out to the middle of the track in the four horse field in the straight leaving runner-up Pirandello in front on the fence, but Rawiller was able drive the Hussonet colt to the line hard and gain a narrow judge’s decision.
When asked by Murrihy what has he doing out so wide, Rawiller replied “Gai said to be seven-off.”
“I didn’t agree with her and I had an argument with her before the race.”
“I thought maybe to come two or three horses out, she wanted me to be seven.”
Rawiller said that he had to work hard on Woodbine over the concluding stages but was happy with the result.
“The second horse had us under the pump for a fair way,” Rawiller said.
“It was a gutsy effort.”
John Messara, head of Arrowfield Pastoral Pty Ltd who are part owners of the colt, said that Woodbine is looking for further and would be aimed at gaining a start in the Randwick Guineas.
“He is a good finisher but he wants more ground,” Messara said.
“We’re hoping he gets to the Randwick Guineas. That’s the aim and a win in a race like that would make him a wonderful stallion prospect.”
Woodbine scored his third win in restricted class last Saturday and Waterhouse will now test the three year old in tougher company in the Group 2 $200,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on March 1.
Messara raced and owned Woodbine’s dam, 2006 Golden Slipper winner Miss Finland and is hoping for a Group 1 win to greatly enhance his future stallion prospects.