Saturday summary: Golden Rose glory for In The Congo, Zaaki untouchable in Underwood

10 min read
In The Congo (Snitzel) stepped up to the big time in style in the G1 Golden Rose at Rosehill, while Zaaki (GB) (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}) lived up to expectations with a dominant G1 Underwood S. performance at Sandown.

Cover image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

Race-Day Recap

In The Congo (Snitzel) broke the race record for the G1 XXXX Golden Rose with a power-packed front-running performance at Rosehill.

Boom horse Zaaki (GB) (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}) announced his arrival in Melbourne with a commanding victory in the G1 Quayclean Underwood S.

The Everest could be on the agenda for Home Affairs (I Am Invincible) after an impressive return to racing in the Listed Heritage S.

After 10 months on the sidelines, jockey Glyn Schofield made a triumphant comeback with an upset win aboard Yonkers (USA) (Medaglia D’Oro {USA}) in the G2 Ned Whisky Shannon S.

A timely victory by Vangelic (Vancouver) in the G2 Keeneland Golden Pendant may have put her in the frame for next month’s $2 million The Invitation.

Rising star Kiwi gelding Elephant (NZ) (Shocking) picked up the sixth win of his seven-start career in the G3 Ladbrokes Sandown S. and is on target for the G1 Toorak H.

Record-breaking Rose for In The Congo

Hall of Fame trainer Gai Waterhouse boasts an unparalleled seven wins in the G1 Golden Slipper S., and now she has a G1 Golden Rose to sit alongside them on the mantelpiece.

In The Congo (Snitzel), trained by Waterhouse in partnership with Adrian Bott, delivered a supreme front-running performance to win Rosehill’s spring showpiece in a time of 1:21.46 – breaking the previous race record of 1:21.83 set by Exosphere in 2015.

Many expected the Golden Rose to be at the mercy of impressive G2 Run to the Rose winner Anamoe (Street Boss {USA}), but instead it was In The Congo who stole the show.

In The Congo takes out the G1 Golden Rose S. with a superb leading display, in race record time | Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

Ridden by Tim Clark, In The Congo never gave his rivals a look in and kept up a strong gallop all the way to the finish line, holding on to beat the late-finishing Anamoe by 0.2l.

Still in his very first preparation, In The Congo has now had six starts for three wins, three second placings and more than $800,000 in stakes. He won last month’s G3 San Domenico S., and placed in the Run to the Rose and the Listed The Rosebud.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve every time he steps out, and he deserved a tough victory like this,” Bott said.

"He (In The Congo) wears his heart on his sleeve every time he steps out, and he deserved a tough victory like this.” - Adrian Bott

“We weren’t concerned about the 1400 metres, we knew he had that high cruising speed. He has the ability to sustain that, and that was what we wanted to do today – make it a real test for a few of those, take away some of their brilliance and bring in his assets, like his high cruising speed and that toughness that he’s got.

“Every start he has stepped out he has continued to impress me and improve. We have kept raising the bar from when he stepped out in the off season in the winter and through the early stages of the spring. We set him goals and he kept delivering. He’s still been putting it all together but he has put it all together in a big way now.”

Superb start to Snitzel’s season

In The Congo has been a key contributor to a remarkable run for Arrowfield Stud’s stellar stallion Snitzel, who sired his 16th and 17th career Group 1 winners this weekend with Wild Ruler in the Moir S. and In The Congo at Rosehill.

Within the first eight weeks of the season, Snitzel has also been represented by Group 2 winners Splintex and Four Moves Ahead, Group 3 winner Bruckner, and Listed winner and Group 2-placed Mr Mozart.

Four-time Champion Sire Snitzel | Standing at Arrowfield Stud

Super Saturday for trainer-jockey team

In The Congo’s Golden Rose victory capped a big day for Waterhouse, Bott and Clark, who also teamed up to win the G2 Keeneland Golden Pendant with Vangelic (Vancouver) and the G3 Drinkwise Colin Stephen Quality with Entente (Dundeel {NZ}).

“We’ve built up a really strong partnership,” Clark said. “It’s a real honour to be riding for the stable, and days like today are very special.”

In Melbourne, Waterhouse and Bott also picked up an additional black-type win with Queen Of Dubai (Pride Of Dubai) in the Listed Jim Moloney S.

Zaaki masters Melbourne debut

Powerhouse wins in Brisbane and Sydney have earned Zaaki (GB) (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}) the biggest reputation in Australian racing this spring, and on Saturday he added a Group 1 victory in Melbourne to his increasingly spectacular streak.

Zaaki headed into the G1 Quayclean Underwood S. at Sandown with snowballing hype surrounding him, having won the G2 Hollindale S., G1 Doomben Cup, G2 The Q22 and G2 Tramway S. by a combined margin of more than 12l in his four previous appearances.

Only four horses dared to oppose him in Saturday’s weight-for-age feature, which was the first Group 1 race staged at Sandown in over two decades. And it soon became obvious that the $1.18 favourite would be untouchable for the fifth time in a row.

Zaaki (GB) | Image courtesy of Bronwen Healy

Multiple Group 1 winner Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel) chased bravely along the inside down the straight, but Zaaki kicked away under minimal urging from jockey Craig Williams and cruised to victory by 2l.

“Oh, he’s good,” Williams said. “For me, the thing that makes him feel so good is that I think he reads his form and he knows he’s good. He pumps his chest up, and when the jockey gets on when it comes to raceday, he’s a real racehorse.

“In the morning, on his own, he just floats around. Obviously he covers the ground that well – he’s that athletic – that you don’t actually realise what he’s doing to his opposition. Probabeel, the four that lined up today, they’re all Group 1 winners.

“He’s really exciting and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

Trainer Annabel Neasham will now aim Zaaki towards the G1 Caulfield S. on October 9 before the Cox Plate two weeks later, for which he is a commanding favourite.

Home Affairs makes blistering return

A shot at the $15 million The Everest is a possibility for exciting 3-year-old Home Affairs (I Am Invincible) after a brilliant seasonal debut in Saturday’s Listed Heritage S. at Rosehill.

The winner of the G2 Silver Slipper and placed in the G2 Todman S. earlier in the year, the Chris Waller-trained colt dominated from the front and scored an emphatic victory by 1.5l over the favourite Paulele (Dawn Approach {Ire}).

Waller already has Nature Strip (Nicconi) as a confirmed runner in The Everest, and he won the race with 3-year-old Yes Yes Yes in 2019. The champion trainer would like to see Home Affairs considered for owners Coolmore’s 2021 The Everest slot.

Home Affairs | Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

“It certainly will be discussed, I’m sure,” he said. “Hopefully not at too much length, because the talent’s there and we’ve seen how 3-year-olds perform in the race.

“I think today’s race was a pretty good field to say he’s up to a very high level.”

Home Affairs was bought for $875,000 by Tom Magnier from Torryburn Stud's draft at the 2020 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. Out of a half-sister to Group 1 winner and sire Russian Revolution, the colt has had two wins and two placings from five starts to date.

Schofield back on top

Less than a week after returning to riding following 10 months on the sidelines with a neck and shoulder problem, Glyn Schofield marked his comeback with an upset win aboard Yonkers (USA) (Medaglia D’Oro {USA}) in Saturday’s G2 Ned Whisky Shannon S.

Sent out as a $41 outsider, the Chris Waller-trained Yonkers charged home from third-last to score a thrilling victory over Discharged (Snitzel).

Glyn Schofield aboard Yonkers | Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

“It’s great to be back,” Schofield said. “I am pain-free for the first time in a long time. I suppose that does sort of help me get back on the horses, and being able to do your best. I rode one winner through the week, and now to ride one on Saturday is even better.

“Obviously I’ve got a lot of people to thank, particularly Chris (Waller) and his team who’ve allowed me to ride trackwork for quite some time before I made my return. Then they’ve given me a horse like this to ride – obviously he’s a push-button horse.”

The Invitation on Vangelic’s horizon

Bigger and better things could be in store for Vangelic (Vancouver) after a timely win in Saturday’s G2 Golden Pendant.

Trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott are hoping to secure an invitation for the inaugural $2 million The Invitation for fillies and mares at Randwick on October 23.

Vangelic | Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

“We would love an invitation – that was the plan in coming here today,” Bott said. “We thought this would be the nice race second-up where she could improve and try to win, and we thought today was crucial in getting that invitation. Even though her record has been consistent, we needed a win like that today to state our case, and hopefully she has done that for us.”

Bought for $400,000 from Segenhoe Stud’s draft at the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Vangelic has now had 14 starts for two wins and five placings. She had previously placed in the G1 Surround S., G1 Flight S., G2 Tea Rose S., G2 Percy Sykes S. and Listed Moonee Valley Pearl S.

Toorak next for ever-improving Elephant

Three weeks on from his first taste of defeat in a tight finish to the G2 Feehan S., New Zealand’s emerging star Elephant (NZ) (Shocking) returned to his winning ways with an emphatic performance in Saturday’s G3 Ladbrokes Sandown S.

Ridden by Damian Lane, Elephant settled in third place among a six-horse field before working through his gears in the straight and striding clear to beat Romancer (NZ) (Redwood {GB}) by 1.25l.

The Emma-Lee and David Browne-trained 5-year-old has now had seven starts for six wins and a second, and the G1 Toorak H. at Caulfield on October 9 looms large on his horizon.

Elephant (NZ) makes an imposing sight | Image courtesy of Bronwen Healy

“I was pretty nervous, to be fair, but he was super,” David Browne said. “He kept kicking to the line well. I think there is a bit more improvement in him yet. He’s strengthened up a bit, and his coat has got a bit to go still. Hopefully he can carry on with it.

“He (Elephant) kept kicking to the line well. I think there is a bit more improvement in him yet." - David Browne

“In all his races, in the last bit he always finds a bit more and lengthens out really well. That’s where he gets it over the rest of them.

“I think we’re going to head to the Toorak in a couple of weeks. That’ll be the plan, and we’ll see where we end up.”

Bred and part-owned by Andrew Fowler, Elephant is a half-brother to the multiple Group 3 winner and Group 1 placegetter Melt (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}).

Saturday Summary
Glyn Schofield