Jumping from the outside barrier in the world’s richest two-year-old race was not enough to stop the success of leading trainer Gai Waterhouse, as the unbeaten colt Vancouver (Medgalia d’Oro – Skates by Danehill), highlighted himself as a future star of the track, defeating stablemate English (Encosta de Lago).
Settling down three-wide back in sixth position, jockey Tommy Berry didn’t appear phased as he knew he was on the best horse in the race, as Haybah (More Than Ready) took the lead with the previously unbeaten Haptic (Exceed And Excel) settling in second. As the field headed into the home straight and the $2 million first place prize money was well within grasp, Ready For Victory (More Than Ready) wobbled off the track as Vancouver set out after the leaders, with stablemate English in hot pursuit. Rolling back to the inside rail, Vancouver took the race defeating English by three-quarters-of-a-length with the same margin to Lake Geneva (Fastnet Rock) and Ready For Victory who produced a top effort to fight back for fourth.
Vancouver's victory gives trainer Gai Waterhouse her sixth win, equalling the record set by her father TJ Smith who passed away in 1998, while it was the second win in the last three years for Tommy Berry after winning two year’s back on Overreach (Exceed And Excel), also trained by Waterhouse.
Asked post race where this win ranked in relation to previous, Waterhouse said, "It's the most emotional, very much so. I always had confidence in the colt. And I knew that we had the fillies that they were very, very good. Dad would've been so proud of him, because he is exactly what he looks for in a horse. He just ticked every box, all the way along. Every time they said he couldn't, he did."
Likely to be targeted at the remaining two legs of the Two-year-old Triple Crown, the G1 Sire’s Produce Stakes and the G1 Champagne Stakes, Vancouver could emulate the former Waterhouse trained Pierro (Lonhro) who remained unbeaten after his first six starts, claiming the Triple Crown.
Extracts from TDN & SMH / ABC (p)