Racing: Sacred Falls beats Pierro

By Caryl Williamson

Former New Zealand colt proves too strong for Sydney's outstanding youngster.

Sacred Falls slips through on the rails to nail Pierro in the Doncaster Hcp at Randwick on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images
Sacred Falls slips through on the rails to nail Pierro in the Doncaster Hcp at Randwick on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images

Less than an hour after Royal Descent beat the Oaks field, trainer Chris Waller claimed his third Doncaster Mile with Sacred Falls on a day he almost scratched most of his runners.

The heavy track concerned Waller and he was fearful Sacred Falls would not handle the ground, but he did so with ease inflicting the first Sydney defeat on Pierro with Norzita third in a battle of the 3-year-olds.

A group one winner in New Zealand, Sacred Falls came to Waller undefeated from six starts but his Sydney preparation was not without its problems.

It all fell into place on Saturday when Sacred Falls ($19) came from last on the home turn along the fence to claim gallant favourite Pierro ($3.50) by three-quarters of a length with Norzita ($11) an identical margin third.

"We thought about not running," Waller said. "If it was left up to me we would have hardly had any runners today at all.

"Sacred Falls came to me with a record of six from six but then it went pear shaped. I scratched this horse before what was to be his second-up start because of the wet track.

"After he ran second to It's A Dundeel in the Rosehill Guineas, albeit beaten a long way, I knew we had him where we wanted him." Sydney's premier trainer after a decade in Sydney, New Zealander Waller claimed his first group one victory in 2008 when 3-year-old Triple Honour won the Doncaster and his second two years later with Rangirangdoo.

"I can't describe the feeling," he said. "I don't think you ever get used to it."

Sacred Falls was ridden by Tommy Berry whose wins during the carnival include the richest of all, the Golden Slipper on Overreach for his boss Gai Waterhouse, the trainer of Pierro.

Nash Rawiller rode Pierro and said he would recommend the colt run against Australian Derby winner It's A Dundeel in this Saturday's Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m). That won't be happening with Pierro retired immediately after the race.

"I felt Sacred Falls coming," Rawiller said. "I fought Norzita off but he harpooned through.

"Four kilos is like 12 kilos in this weather."

The Queen Elizabeth won't be the plan for Sacred Falls who is headed for a break.

"He's spent," Waller said.

The colt is owned by the Raffles Syndicate who also race New Zealand Oaks winner More Than Sacred who didn't handle the wet ground in the Australian version, finishing 26 lengths from Royal Descent.

Norzita's effort to run third pleased her jockey Craig Williams who had her up on the speed after she jumped better than anything in the race.

"She's run a great race," Williams said.

"I found myself in the front line and I had to test her.

"It didn't quite come off but Group One races are won in inches."

Royal Descent has posted one of the biggest modern-day winning margins in a group one race, thrashing her opponents by 10 lengths in a breathtaking Australian Oaks victory.

Waller sought the thoughts of owner Gerry Harvey and his racing manager Claire Bird just hours before the race before deciding to run.

Connections must have been wondering why they ever wavered when the filly posted the biggest winning margin in a group one race since Might And Power won the 1998 Queen Elizabeth Stakes by 10 lengths.

Royal Descent ($4.40) settled worse than midfield for jockey Nash Rawiller but improved so rapidly coming to the corner she had joined the leaders.

She accelerated further in front down the Randwick straight to easily defeat Victorian Oaks winner Dear Demi ($7.50) and Gondokoro ($18), with favourite Habibi ($3.70) struggling home for fourth.

The Australian Oaks (2400m) only became an option for Royal Descent after she won the Adrian Knox Stakes impressively seven days ago, and even then Waller wasn't committed to backing her up.

"My only instructions to Nash were 'if you're not going to be a winning possibility then don't knock her around too much'."

' Dear Demi's rider Jim Cassidy bore the brunt of a spray from trainer Clarry Conners over his effort on Dear Demi but Cassidy said nothing would have changed the result.

Habibi's trainer Donna Logan said the filly floundered in the heavy going.

"It was the worst run of her life but she's still run fourth and she deserves a break," Logan said.AAP

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