French import Pornichet will be set for the Cox Plate in the Spring after demoralizing his rivals to win the Group 1 $650,000 The Bundaberg Rum Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben today.
Winning jockey Blake Shinn made it back to back Doomben Cups after winning on the Guy Walter trained Streama last year and collected trainer Gai Waterhouse’s second win in the Winter Carnival weight for age feature after Juggler won in 1996.
And Shinn made it four wins for the day after winning on Sadler’s Lake in the Group 3 $125,000 Mittys Rough Habit Plate (2000m), on I’ve Got The Looks in the Listed $100,000 Designline Graphics Juanmo Stakes (1200m) and on Charlie Boy in the Group 3 $125,000 Darley BRC Sprint (1350m).
Waterhouse said before the race that Pornichet ($3.50 favourite) would head to the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in the Spring if he ran up her expectations.
And the four year old stallion didn’t let the First Lady Of The Turf with an electrifying three lengths win over the Chris Waller trio of Weary ($19), I’m Imposing ($11) and Moriarty ($15).
Shinn settled Pornichet in the middle of the pack with plenty of pace up front before easing him out on coming to the home turn where he let him slip away to set up a commanding break.
“What a gorgeous horse. He got back to about eighth and he picked up half through the race and then on the point of the turn he was five or six wide, but he had it won at the top of the straight,” Waterhouse said.
“Toowoomba to Moonee Valley, it is a nice jump and in between Doomben, it’s very very nice.”
Waterhouse said that she was dining with Lloyd William during the week and he said that the Doomben Cup would be a good stepping stone into the Cox Plate.
“Lloyd said If you can win this race, this Group 1 race , this is a real chance of being really worthy of going into a Cox Plate,” said Waterhouse.
Waterhouse took Pornichet to Toowoomba after he miss getting a run in in the Group 2 $358,000 Sky Thoroughbred Central A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast the previous week and he duly won the $100,000 XXXX Gold Toowoomba Cup (2150m) in similar style as today’s win.
The leading Randwick trainer said that she wasn’t frightened to back Pornichet up in a week and could see that he has improved at every run he has had in Australia since arriving from overseas in the middle of 2014.
“He hasn’t just come on in a week. I think that he has come on over a period of time. Every race in Australia he has kept improving,” Waterhouse said.