Metal Bender Brings up More Gr. 1 Glory For Waller

Chris Waller has won his third Gr 1 George Ryder Stakes in as many years when Metal Bender upstaged a cracking field to claim victory in a five way go on the line on Saturday.

The WS-bred and sold son of Danasinga resumed in fine fashion when running third in the Canterbury Stakes last start behind More Joyous and that form held up well when she claimed her second Queen Of The Turf win just two races earlier.

As expected Kiwi galloper Mufhasa took up the lead with Niagara crossing from a wide barrier to go forward and Love Conquers All also prominent early. Metal Bender, who was ridden by Michael Rodd, took up a position on the fence towards the back of the field and rode for luck rounding the turn.

The six-year-old was able to get clear room and hit the line strongly to claim a narrow victory. An emotional Chris Waller was ecstatic after the race and has become renowned for getting older horses with problems to win big races.

“It’s an amazing performance, to get these old horses back isn’t easy and it’s a big effort for a horse that has been out for a long time,” he said. “We had no expectations we just treat them like another horse and keep him happy. Plenty of work goes into this, I can’t explain how much, but he is a bleeder and had tendon issues and you can’t get any more problems than that. You just have to take these horses one race at a time and I originally thought it might be a bit short for him today so maybe the Queen Elizabeth or the All Aged Stakes.”

Jockey Michael Rodd rode the horse for the first time last start and could not have given the six-year-old a better run.

”I was back in a pretty ordinary spot but the pace was on and I could see things were happening and it was really opening up for me,” he said. “He was really strong the last 100m and that is where he is at his best and we were able to have a clear run there and we got there.”

Out of the Bluebird mare Jacqwin, Metal Bender was sold by WS for $A160,000 at the Sydney Easter Sale in 2007.

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