WUDANG Mountain, a son of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, emerged as a classics contender with a powerful win at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Sydney’s reigning premier trainer, Chris Waller, and jockey, Hugh Bowman, both gave Wudang Mountain their seal of approval after he took out the McGrath Estate Agents Handicap (1400m).
The race was loaded with emerging three-year-old talent and it was Wudang Mountain who stood tallest.
“He is a horse that has always shown us promise and Nash Rawiller jumped off him last start and said once you get him out to 1600m you will have a very nice horse,’’ Waller said.
“The plan now is to go to the Spring Stakes at Newcastle next and give him a chance at the mile. From there, we can look at races like the Gloaming Stakes and Spring Champion Stakes. I feel 1600-2000m is his right distance range.’’
Bowman described Wudang Mountain as a “real up-and-comer”.
“He’s a lovely looking colt, he has a presence about him and he also has his share of ability,’’ Bowman said.
“Hugh’s become a very tactical, thinking jockey,” Waller said. “I think early days he was just strength and aggression but now he’s just so methodical with what he does and he’s never lost sight of getting a horse to relax which is always good for the end of a race.
“I think he’s maturing all the time, he’s a pleasure to have aboard.”
River Wild, the boom Gai Waterhouse-trained colt, was sent out the $1.75 favourite (backed in from $2.05) and showed his inexperience before finishing a length away third.
After being slow away, River Wild had to work early to get up outside leader Salerno where he stayed until the home turn.
River Wild was immediately under pressure and ran about in the straight but he was actually doing his best work on the line once he regained his balance.
Waller, who also prepared Spiritos (fourth) and Devil Hawk (fifth), said Wudang Mountain is the only horse by Big Brown in his Rosehill stables.
“This colt was an absolute standout at the Classic Sale and was purchased by (Star Thoroughbreds syndicator) Denise Martin for $155,000,’’ Waller said.
Martin’s Star Thoroughbreds colours were worn by Spiritos’s jockey Jim Cassidy and the syndicator had the smile of a winner after the race.
“I on-sold Wudang Mountain (to Macau businessman C.C. Lai) after the Classic Sale,’’ Martin said. “I’m delighted for Mr Lai and I’m also over the moon with the run of Spiritos. My filly, Marie Claire, just won in Tasmania so it has been a very good day.’’