Gai Waterhouse sets Woodbine on course towards Randwick Guineas



Quick dash: Woodbine bolts into the clear for a first-up win. "He's a beautiful colt in the making," says trainer Gai Waterhouse. Photo: Jenny Evans

Gai Waterhouse declared Woodbine a Randwick Guineas contender after his impressive first-up win at Randwick on Saturday.

The superbly-bred Hussonet colt out of Golden Slipper winner Miss Finland overcame missing a run at the top of the straight to beat Dream Forward with a quick dash when he got clear.

''He'll go on to group races. He's a beautiful colt in the making,'' Waterhouse said. The Eskimo Prince Stakes is the likely first black-type assignment for Woodbine before a shot at the Guineas.

Woodbine didn't show a lot of early speed and James McDonald sat third on the fence before aiming for a run between second favourite Atmospherical and Dream Forward soon after turning for home. He finally got clear at the 250m mark and the colt did the rest. 

''I loved the way when he got a little bit lost in stages, took a good slap on the shoulders with vigorous riding by James McDonald and was able to pick up and really attack the line,'' Waterhouse said. ''We'll run him one more time in this type of race then go on to the group races.

''It's very exciting. John Messara bred the horse at Arrowfield Stud and we just thought he was an exceptional type and he's proven it today.''

The three-year-old ran over the top of Dream Forward inside the final 50m to win by a neck with Watabout a further 11Ž2 lengths back in third. McDonald was hopeful more than confident that the horse would take the next step in the autumn.

''He didn't have a lot of speed early and I managed to take a sit, and he came over the top of them really well,'' he said. ''He was in a nice pocket and it was just a matter of being patient and waiting for the run. He slowly got there and he sprinted quickly in the end. He's got a lot of ability and hopefully he'll go all the way.''

Atmospherical couldn't keep her unbeaten run intact, finishing fourth, and jockey Jay Ford wasn't confident as the field went into the barriers. ''I think she's gone off,'' he said. ''She was really sour and agitated in the parade today and sweated up badly. All she wanted to do was run through the bridle and never wanted to settle.''

Christian Reith said Dream Forward was spent in the run to the line. ''It was a great run but she just emptied out in the last couple of bounds,'' he said.

Waterhouse gave Woodbine only two starts at his first campaign and despite recording a win and a placing she wasn't tempted to keep the horse racing. ''He was growing and still maturing. I said to John, 'If you're a little bit patient you'll be amazed at how good he will be','' she said.