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April 15, 2014

Just six years ago Triple Honour won the Doncaster to confirm Kiwi expat Chris Waller’s rise in Australian racing. Yesterday at Randwick, Sacred Falls (NZ) (O’Reilly) repeated his win in last year’s running of the famous mile as he led in an unprecedented first four for the man who is now firmly established as Sydney’s leading trainer.  With five runners, a quarter of the field, Waller had numbers on his side as he bettered Guy Walter’s 2005 feat of training the trifecta. “It is special because this race turned me around as a trainer,” Waller said. “You just hope you get things right on the day.”

Hong Kong-based Australian Zac Purton was recruited to ride Sacred Falls, who was sent out at $10, with  stablemate Weary (Astronomer Royal) the $4.40 favourite. Outsider Fat Al (Al Maher) led the field from his wide alley before Sacred Falls came out of the pack to chase down Royal Descent (Redoute’s Choice), who had slipped clear early in the home straight and looked all over the winner.  But under hard riding from Purton, Sacred Falls dug deep to get the better of the mare by a half length with Weary 2½ lengths third and Hawkspur (Purrealist) fourth. Waller described Sacred Falls as “an outstanding colt”

 “You talk about $20 million horses,” he said. “This horse has been forgotten. He’s the next one – don’t worry about that. “He won it last year and beat Pierro. I guess there could have been a bit of doubt about his class with the lighter weight then but he’s come back close to the topweight this year. “It really shows how good he is.” Nash Rawiller hought he had the race won on last year’s ATC Oaks winner Royal Descent and the trainer said had the barriers been reversed, the result might have been different.  “We had her cherry ripe for the day and, turn the barriers around, it might have been a photo finish.” For Purton, whose only other Group One in Australia is the 2008 Epsom Handicap on Theseo, the win was sweet.

 Purton is leading the Hong Kong premiership and is more recognisable outside his home country. “I’ve ridden winners all over the world but I don’t get many opportunities to come back,” Purton said. “Maybe it’s because I wasn’t really established when I left. “It’s special to come back here and win a race like the Doncaster, especially for a trainer of Chris Waller’s status.  “He does such a great job with his horses and to be part of his team is something I’m very grateful for.” Waller said the first-four horses, apart from Weary, would probably back up in next Saturday’s A$4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Story from NZTN