McDonald rides Savatiano to victory at The Hunter Stakes - GulfToday

McDonald rides Savatiano to victory at The Hunter Stakes


Action from the million-dollar The Hunter Stakes at Newcastle.

Godolphin’s biggest day of the Australian spring produced three Stakes victories in two states, but all were overshadowed by the brilliant, ungraded success of Savatiano in The Hunter at Newcastle.

Savatiano carried all before her in the inaugural running of a race that carried no pattern status, but offered $1 million in prizemoney, leading throughout to hold off Tactical Advantage and score by a length-and-a-half.

Savatiano’s win followed the success at the same track of Asiago and those of Hanseatic and Viridine at Sandown in Melbourne.

Ridden with supreme confidence by James McDonald, Savatiano crossed smoothly from her wide gate and then controlled the 1,300m race before skipping away with a winning break at the 250m.

The five-year-old is a member of Street Cry’s final Australian crop and had already earned herself considerable distinction winning seven races, with Saturday’s win almost doubling her racetrack earnings.

McDonald said any doubts he may have had over the wide gate were put to rest within the first 50m.

“From the time she got into stride she never felt like getting beaten,” the jockey said.

Assistant trainer Darren Beadman, deputising for Godolphin’s head Australian trainer James Cummings praised the victory as a credit to the whole team.

“She’s been in Melbourne where she won a very nice G2 race and she came back to us in perfect order,” he said.

“Not a lot of horses can sustain that sort of gallop, but she’s something special.”

Savatiano’s win followed that of Asiago in the G3 Spring Stakes, claiming the race for Godolphin for the third successive year.

“She went too hard in front and just ‘gassed’ herself out at Moonee Valley last start,” Beadman said.

“She controlled the race today and took all the guesswork out of it when she followed the favourite across.”

“She has some black type to her name now which is perfect.”

The Sandown double continued what is almost a tradition at the meeting for Godolphin who won three Stakes races on the same card in 2016 and took out the feature Eclipse Stakes with Tally at last year’s fixture.

Hanseatic struck the first blow, winning the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes with a debut performance that promised far greater success.

The Anthony Freedman-trained colt showed impeccable manners to settle in midfield and then produced a stunning turn of foot to dominate the race and score by 1-3/4 lengths.

Assistant trainer Sam Freedman said the stable would aim Hanseatic at the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes, a race it won for Godolphin with Lyre last autumn.

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