Stunning Sydney Cup success for The Offer
Report: Australia, Saturday
Randwick: Sydney Cup (Group 1 hcap) 2m, turf, 3yo+
IGNORE Gai Waterhouse at your peril. Seven days ago, after The Offer had won a Group 2 event on day one of The Championships at Randwick, Sydney's leading lady left no-one in any doubt what she expected to happen a week hence.
"Just back him in the Sydney Cup," said Waterhouse. "He'll bolt in."
On Saturday, the former Ballydoyle-trained five-year-old duly completed his side of the bargain with a stunning victory under Tommy Berry, completing a Group 1 double for Waterhouse on the day after a shock 40-1 triumph earlier on Diamond Drille in the Queen Of The Turf.
The Offer won the Naas October Handicap in 2012 for former trainer Aidan O'Brien, back in the days when the horse was known simply as Offer.
Sent off 23-10 favourite on Saturday, he sprinted clear inside the final furlong to take the A$1 million (£550,000) contest by three and three-quarter lengths from 25-1 shot Opinion, who led at the distance, with Sertorius back in third.
"What a stayer, what a stayer!" exclaimed an excited Waterhouse. "Look at the rest of them. He just donkey-licked them and I love the way in a muddling run race where he just couldn't quite get into his rhythm then he picked up. Look out Melbourne Cup 2014 here we come."
The Offer's victory last weekend had been the first for Berry since the death of his twin brother Nathan owing to a rare syndrome related to epilepsy.
"This is Nathan's horse now," said Berry. "He was the first one to give me a cuddle when we won a big one. He's not there now to do it but I am glad I am making him proud.
"Every race I win now for the rest of my life is going to be for Nathan. He is my best mate and I will never be able to replace him."
Also on Saturday
Randwick: Queen Of The Turf (Group 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+ f/m
Four-year-old filly Diamond Drille (Gai Waterhouse/Tommy Berry) got home by a short neck from Gypsy Diamond for a 40-1 shock in this A$1m (£550,000) event, the first of four Group 1s on day two of The Championships.
"She is such a good mare," said Waterhouse, welcoming her first hometown Group 1 winner for more than a year.
"I think everyone underestimated her. Just look at her price!" added the trainer, who was winning the race for the seventh time. "A beautiful, beautiful mare and Tommy rode her a treat. I love the way he balanced her when the rest were going hustle and bustle up front. He just balanced her and she was so impressive."
Randwick: Australian Oaks (Group 1) 1m4f, turf, 3yo fillies
The post came just in time for the New Zealand-trained Rising Romance (Donna Logan/James McDonald), who scored by a length from Zanbagh with the hot favourite Lucia Valentina a fast-finishing third, having been handed a stiff task racing at the rear.
"To be here in Sydney, Championships time, it's just the best, the ultimate," said winning trainer Logan.
"James did say last start he made a mistake and that was the worst big-race ride he had ridden - he promised he would make it up in the Oaks and he has."
After partnering the 5-1 winner, McDonald said: "That was payback. Bloody oath! I told everyone I rode it badly [last time at Rosehill] and I knew the filly was exceptional. The Kiwis are firing this carnival."
Randwick: Royal Sovereign Stakes (Group 2) 6f, turf, 3yo
Sheikh Mohammed's Sidestep (Peter Snowden/Kerrin McEvoy) is set for a step up to Group 1 company next weekend in the All Aged Stakes after a last-gasp success from what looked an impossible position a furlong out.
"He's a bit of a lad, this horse, but he's getting better with age," said McEvoy.