Hugh beauty as Unforgotten turns tables in Oaks
HUGH Bowman produced a typical first-class ride to get Unforgotten home in the $1 million Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
But after winning three Oaks already - on Daffodil (2009), Sofia Rosa (2016) and Bonneval (2017) - it was hardly surprising to see the champion jockey rate the Chris Waller filly perfectly after Hiyaam set a cracking tempo up front.
Hiyaam beat Unforgotten last start in the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill, but the extra trip was what was needed and she edged past her rival in the final 100m to win by a length.
"She's a shining star and today is an example of more to come because she's a very good horse," Waller said.
"It was a true test, but she's very calm and relaxed and that's what excites me."
Unforgotten was impressive in beating up a couple of fields in November before Waller spelled her for an Oaks campaign, but disaster struck first-up when she finished last.
"I probably knew in December (she was an Oaks mare) but it all went pear-shaped in her first-up run but she bounces back so quickly with a second-up win and last start was a very good run," Waller said.
"The only doubts were what causes it. She got a solid bump in the run and it's often something like that which can upset them, so that's what I was clinging to.
"We went back to riding her conservatively."
Bowman didn't panic when Hiyaam shot out to a lead.
"I was always confident because I had such a lovely run in transit," he said.
"I worked her on Tuesday morning so I knew what she was capable of.
"I knew from the 400m that I had Hiyaam covered, but I wasn't to know what was coming from behind me, but it would have been a monumental effort to come from behind and run me down because she was superb the last 500m."
Unforgotten is by a Galileo mare and has Deep Impact blood in her, but Waller isn't sure what her spring targets will be.
"It's hard to say. We've seen how much success we've had with Winx and we won't rush her to step her up to a Caulfield Cup. We'll just see how good she comes back as a four-year-old first," he said.
Also at Randwick on Saturday, trainer James Cummings's debut season with Godolphin went to a new high when he claimed a fourth Group 1 win, this time with brilliant filly Alizee.
Alizee unleashed a stunning late burst to run down her older rivals in the $1 million Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m).
It was her second Group 1 win over the famous Randwick mile this season, after she claimed the Flight Stakes last spring.
Cummings also won majors with Kementari in the Randwick Guineas and Hartnell in the Orr Stakes.
"This is our fourth Group 1 of the season. Our stable is full, we have a good operation, the staff is working hard and we have great momentum for the years ahead,'' Cummings said.
"But most importantly, our people are enjoying the horses we are racing.
"We are privileged to have the horses we have got and not a day goes by we don't take it for granted.
"It's exciting to train horses as good as Alizee. It is an absolute privilege to be saddling up horses for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed."
Alizee ($8.50), ridden by Glyn Schofield, gave her rivals no excuses when she unleashed a devastating sprint from the back of the field to beat Prompt Response ($12) by two lengths, with Heavens Above ($15) a half-length away third.
"She is one of the best fillies in the country,'' Cummings said.,
"Her turn of foot is hard to match when she gets a dry track like this. We had her fully wound up for her grand final today. She loves the Randwick mile and loves firm tracks.''
Schofield described Alizee as a "special girl".
"She was really dominant as a three-year-old against her own age,'' he said.
"She's found that really strong turn of speed which was lacking at the beginning of this preparation. But you can see how big she is, I think she just takes a bit of racing to get really race fit. She was impressive today."
Blake Shinn, rider of Prompt Response, said his mare had run her usual honest race.
"It is a bit of a bummer to run second because she is so deserving to win a Group 1 but full credit to the winner,'' Shinn said.
"My girl ran out of her skin again and her time will come in a Group 1."