Sydney’s champion trainer Chris got to experience that Winx-like feeling again as Arcadia Queen made a stunning Sydney debut at Rosehill Gardens.
Arcadia Queen, the Perth wonder mare, showed she is the real deal with a dominant win in the Group 2 $200,000 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m).
Waller admitted as he readied Arcadia Queen for Saturday’s race he felt a bit of pressure for the first time since Winx retired after her 33rd consecutive win in the Queen Elizabeth in April.
“Today gave me a bit of excitement about race day and just felt on edge a little bit because you’ve been given a very good horse like her to train. There’s a bit pressure involved but I’m very grateful to get the opportunity to train her.
“She was sent over in great condition. We picked out a race to start her off in with a pretty ambitious second up run and it’s worked out brilliantly.”
There was a sense of history repeating itself as James McDonald rode Arcadia Queen to her impressive win and he was in the saddle when Winx began her rise to super stardom in this very race four years ago.
“Arcadia Queen’s a star all right,’’ McDonald said.
“She’s very push button, she knew it was race day today. She settled nicely in behind the leaders and gave her trademark turn of foot.
“She’s beautiful to ride and I love how she pins the ears back and has a good crack — a bit like the horse I won this race on (Winx).”
Arcadia Queen ($1.95 favourite) loomed up three-wide on the turn then sprinted clear to win by nearly two lengths from the fast finishing Trope ($5.50) with Gem Song ($15) a neck away third. The winner ran the Rosehill 1300m in 1min14.96sec. just 0.04sec outside Deploy’s track record.
Waller said he will talk with owner-breeder Bob Peters before deciding if Arcadia Queen has another start before the $14 million The TAB Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 19.
“I’ll have a good chat to Mr Peters, he knows the horse better than me,’’ Waller said.
“Our plan was not to over-race her and I don’t want to take the speed out of her because we’ve got an Everest over 1200m.
“I don’t think she’ll be running again but I’ll have a chat to him.”
Arcadia Queen, who has been selected by slot-holder The Star for The Everest, improved her record to six wins from just seven starts with her Theo Marks success, her first start since last December.
“We haven’t pressed the button on her, I swear,’’ Waller said. “There’s improvement to come, for sure. She’s certainly got a motor there.”
McDonald also maintained Arcadia Queen will only improve with the run.
“I’ve been watching Chris very closely over the last month with these good horses and he’s just trying to peak them for the right day. He hasn’t screwed this might mare down yet and there’s plenty more to come,’’ he said.
“She’s just been ticking along beautifully in her work and has never really been asked to do much at home. Chris and his team have plenty to play with.”
Arcadia Queen firmed from $11 into the third line of TAB Everest betting at $7 behind Santa Ana Lane ($5) and Pierata ($6). – Ray Thomas, The Daily Telegraph.