Jason Collett broke his Group I duck and Chris Waller knocked Tommy Smith out of the record books as bonny mare Invincibella won a memorable and emotional Tatt’s Tiara at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Former Kiwi Collett had won more than 900 races in his career and had recorded a stack of Group I placings but the dam wall finally burst as Invincibella showed her fighting qualities.
It was also a remarkable result for Waller who had run four mares in the Tatt’s Tiara (1400m) as he attempted to improve his already record-breaking season.
Invincibella’s win at $10 – fending off the Godolphin pair of Pohutukawa ($5) and Savatiano ($4.40fav) – gave Waller a record-breaking 18 Group I wins for the season.
Waller had been sitting on 17 Group I wins – equal with the all-time Australian record of Tommy Smith set in 1979-80 – since Winx’s farewell day in April when Waller collected three Group Is on the day at Randwick.
It took until the last Group I race of the season for Waller to break Smith’s record and it was fellow former Kiwi Collett who helped him do it.
It was also first win at the elite level for five-year-old Invincibella and she had to work for it as she firstly saw off Savatiano but then Pohutukawa loomed up on her outside and looked to have her measure in the 1400m Group I.
Collett had positioned Invincibella sixth during the run – three-wide with cover – but he felt he was going to run frustratingly short of winning his first Group I when Pohutukawa loomed in the straight.
“When Pohutukawa came to me at about the 300m I thought oh no, not another second,” Collett said.
“We teamed up quite well (Collett and Pohutukawa ) because we were multiple placegetters in Group Ones and Group Twos.
“She was there three-out with cover and at the top of the straight I knew she was tough but when Pohutukawa came up to me, I thought here we go again.
“It’s taken a while but it’s a very good feeling right now.
“She’s such a tough mare and to do it for Chris (Waller) who’s always supported me, it’s a dream.”
Waller was overseas and not on track to see Invincibella, who may now be off to the breeding barn, give him his record-breaking Group I win.
Waller’s Queensland foreman Paul Shailer said: “It’s a magnificent achievement by Chris.
“I think it just comes down to how much of a hard worker he is and the dedication and time and effort he puts into his horses.
“No stone is left unturned so there is no-one more deserving.
“The Group I has eluded Invincibella for a long time but today she bounced off the back of her last run, which was very good, and she was tough today.” – Racenet.com.au