Tears of joy greet Doncaster winner
22 April 2013
Tears of joy from one of the supposed hard men of the bloodstock industry greeted Saturday’s superb victory by Sacred Falls in the Doncaster Mile at Randwick.
Recent weeks have been difficult for Mark Chittick, his wife Lisa and their family while Lisa has been dealing with illness. The couple and their three children, Charlotte, George and Harry, made sure they were together late yesterday in the hope the O’Reilly colt could lift their spirits in Australasia’s most famous 1600-metre race.
“Above all else it was a very emotional occasion,” Chittick admitted this morning as he reflected on the last-to-first win by the Waikato Stud-bred and part-owned colt. “They were tears of joy after what has been an up and down time for all of us.”
Sacred Falls, already the winner of the New Zealand 2000 Guineas and runner-up to fellow Kiwi-bred three-year-old It’s A Dundeel in the Rosehill Guineas, shocked the Randwick crowd as he inflicted the first ever Sydney defeat on glamour colt Pierro.
The son of O’Reilly and Redoute’s Choice mare Iguazu’s Girl was sold by Waikato Stud at the 2011 National Yearling Sale. After Sacred Falls had won his first six starts in New Zealand, his breeders went back to owners Raffles Farm and bought a share with a view to a stallion career.
That coincided with his transfer to Sydney trainer Chris Waller, who lined him up for the fourth time yesterday in the hope that his Rosehill Guineas second was the sign of even better to come in the A$2 million feature.
So it proved as Sacred Falls overcame a tardy start and jockey Tommy Berry banked on an inside run. Tracking through behind the favourite Pierro, Sacred Falls proved unstoppable over the final 200 metres as he burst through to down the local hotshot, with Thorn Park filly Norzita completing a three-year-old white-wash.
“After the start he got I wasn’t feeling that optimistic,” said Chittick. “Up until the 500 I said we’re no chance, then as they came round the bend Lisa said ‘he’s going to win this’.
“Too right, she was spot-on, what a performance, or as Harry says, ‘Epic!’
“On a personal note life hasn’t been easy lately, so a win like this was so much more than any financial gain, that’s right out of my mind.”
Chittick was happy to leave Raffles Farm principal Dato Yap Kim San and associate Bruce Sherwin to absorb the occasion on-course at Randwick.
“Being together as a family meant so much to all of us back here, but it’s still an unbelievable situation to be involved with Dato Yap and Bruce.
“As soon as he crossed the line my phone was going crazy with calls and texts. It was impossible to take them all, but the one I made sure to take was from Dato.
“He was just so thrilled for Lisa and me, knowing what it would mean for us. It was lovely to hear him and understand where he was coming from.
“As an O’Reilly bred on the farm this is a very special horse to us. Right from when he started winning as a two-year-old I’ve described him as the closest to his own sire as any I’ve seen.
“To think that he’s going to retire to the farm as a Group One winner on both sides of the Tasman – right now that’s something I find hard to put into words.”
Only a matter of days ago Chittick sealed a deal with the owners of Ocean Park to syndicate the Cox Plate winner for stud duties this spring, joining another freshman, 2011 New Zealand 2000 Guineas winner Rock’N’Pop, on the potent Waikato roster.
“Along with everything else it’s been a big week, one that we’ll remember for all the right reasons,” Chittick said with feeling.
Source: Dennis Ryan, www.theinformant.co.nz