Former New Zealand trained mare Shillelagh picks up another Group 1 win for the Chris Waller stable with a decisive victory in the Group 1 $1m Kennedy Mile (1600m) at Flemington today.
Waller was forced to run Shillelagh in the Kennedy Mile against the open class handicappers after she failed to make the field against the fillies and mares in the Group 1 $500,000 Myer Classic (1600m) earlier in the day.
But that turned out to be a blessing as the winning cheque of $600,000 for the Kennedy Mile was twice as much as the Myer Classic’s.
Rising star Michael Dee had Shillelagh travelling sweetly from the outset from barrier two and with only 52kg on her back, she was able to run out a strong 1600m.
Shillelagh was one of six runners Waller saddled up in the Kennedy Mile and was sent out at the good odds of $12 coming off a last start third in the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Tristarc Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on October 21.
Shillelagh proved too strong in the run to the line for her stablemate, professional placegetter Tom Melbourne ($5) with the $41 outsider Wyndspelle running on for third.
“52kg on her back and never once in the race I thought that I wasn’t going to get beat,” Dee said.
“She just towed me everywhere I wanted to go and she was too good.”
Waller is still on a high after his stable star Winx won her third consecutive Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley last week, but still said it was great thrill to win a Group 1 race on Derby Day.
“Winning any race on Derby Day is special, and winning a Group 1 race is fantastic,” Waller said.
“She is a good horse and she had gone to a new level this preparation. She came from New Zealand to me in good form.”
Waller was also pleased with the run of Tom Melbourne who put in another consistent effort to collect his fifth runner’s up cheque from his last six starts.
The Darren Weir trained top weight Tosen Stardom was sent out as the $4.80 favourite but the punters didn’t have very much to cheer about as he struggled with the 58kg and wound up in eighth spot.