Gai, Bott share top honours in English
ENGLISH shed her support act role to upstage one of the great Doomben 10,000 fields in a maiden Queensland Group 1 win for Gai Waterhouse since linking with training partner Adrian Bott.
English was already a $3 million earner before tackling Saturday's race, but in more recent times has been better known as a bridesmaid, having finished top six nine times in her past 16 starts, for just the lone win.
That win, somewhat ironically after Saturday's result, was over Redzel in last year's Challenge Stakes at Randwick.
Saturday's race was her 15th start in a Group 1 and second win, adding to the 2016 All Aged Stakes.
Underlining the Encosta De Lago mare's longevity, English's first Group 1 tilt was when she ran second to Vancouver in the 2015 Golden Slipper.
And it's not over yet. Bott indicated English would run in all of the remaining Group 1 sprints over the carnival.
"She's been a hugely talented mare throughout her career and the last 18 months you've been able to make genuine excuses for her every time she's gone around," Bott said.
"So it was good to see it all fall into place for her. We freshened her up after the TJ (Smith at Randwick) deliberately to bring her to this carnival.
"Races like the (Kingsford Smith) Cup, she's got a nomination for the Stradbroke and the Tatt's Tiara. It's all up for her. Then after that, we will see if we can keep her in training and look at a race like the Everest again."
This was the fourth Group 1 win for the Waterhouse/Bott partnership, following dual successes in the spring of 2016 with Global Glamour and last year's VRC Oaks with Pinot.
English's only link to Queensland before Saturday was the fact her dam Court won the Champagne Classic on this same day 10 years earlier.
Kerrin McEvoy offered no excuses for Redzel, which bookmakers gambled with to start $2.50.
"He was only beaten half a length," McEvoy said. "When I asked for a kick he gave one, he just found a couple better on the day."
Damian Browne had a little bit of a hardluck tale on runner-up Impending, who he said was right on target for his upcoming 1350m assignments.
"I followed In Her Time. I thought she would take me into the race on the corner and she didn't," Browne said.
"That meant I was a length further back than I wanted to be because she wasn't able to take me into it. But he ran super. The last furlong he hit the line strong so we look forward to next time."
Craig Williams said Spieth's return was encouraging enough to go forward with some confidence for the remainder of the winter.
"He got back, he was outsprinted early, but the way he finished off, he put his hand up as a genuine Stradbroke hope," Williams said.
Chairman result big knockout
ANTON En Avant knocked punters for six and delivered trainer Stephen Lee a big-race winner from his new Gold Coast base by stunning the southerners in the Chairman's Handicap at Doomben.
Anton En Avant started at $151 and landed the prize after jockey Matt McGillivray persisted with an inside run to beat Lovani and Rising Red.
He is the 15th horse to win at 100-1 or longer on a Queensland track since 2012 and the second highest-priced behind last October's $201 Ipswich winner Danger Annie in that time.
Lee said switching his training base from Ballina to the Gold Coast had transformed Anton En Avant into a much better horse this preparation. Lee has trained for many years from Ballina but opened a stable at the Gold Coast late last year.
He said Anton En Avant was one of several of his horses who had blossomed since the move.
"He really has come along well because I have been able to change his training tactics on the bigger Gold Coast tracks," Lee said. "I have been trying to get the kilometres into his legs for the Caloundra Cup over 2400m next month.
"But I might have to run him in the Brisbane Cup (June 9) now that he has won this because he will get into the field. He isn't really a Doomben horse but that was his fourth win here so he isn't exactly a duffer around the circuit."