Kerrin McEvoy and Hungry Heart combined to make it back-to-back Group 1’s on Day Two of The Championships on Saturday by taking out the $1 million Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick.
Only a week removed from their triumph in last week’s Vinery Stud Stakes, the pair returned to Randwick to tackle the extra 400m against a dazzling field of three-year-old fillies looking to cap off their autumn in style.
Chris Waller’s brilliant stayer remained a steady $5.00 chance before the jump with Vinery second place-getter Harmony Rose well-supported as the $3.40 favourite over further.
Just like seven days prior though, a perfect ride from McEvoy proved the difference as the pair settled midfield behind a slow tempo before quickening heading into the turn.
Knowing plenty of late speed would be coming, McEvoy then shuffled forward heading into the straight and left Hungry Heart’s dominant turn of foot to do the talking.
With his fourth Oaks in hand, Walle
r said after the race that Hungry Heart’s maturity and demeanor has been the leading cause for her success.
“She’s matured with age as you’d expect. She was almost on her toes as a two-year-old and I guess they were just babies and they were learning what it’s all about, but now as a three-year-old, she’s a very relaxed customer,” Waller told Channel 7.
This time last year the Frankel filly looked anything but a stayer finishing four lengths fifth to Farnan in the Golden Slipper, but after running on well for second in the Flight Stakes over the mile in the spring, the step up to 2000m and beyond did look a nice option.
“Full credit to Kerrin McEvoy, he just gave her a very good ride. They didn’t go overly quick and Kerrin just had her in a lovely spot, switched her off, you’ve got to remember a Golden Slipper is 1200m, this is twice as far,” Waller said.
“He got her to switch off as a stayer should and just showed a great turn of foot when it counted.”
With the win, Hungry Heart follows in stablemate Verry Elleegant’s footsteps by becoming the eighth horse to complete the Vinery Stud Stakes – Australian Oaks double.
Edward Cummings’ lightly-raced filly Duais found a lovely gap to run second with Bargain also finishing off well for third.