Boban the brave in Emirates

| November 14, 2013
Boban takes out G1 Emirates Stakes at Flemington

Boban takes out G1 Emirates Stakes at Flemington

Boban is a star! CHRIS Waller made this official after Boban’s victory in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes.

Boban took out the final Group One race of the Spring Carnival, winning the Emirates Stakes at Flemington, holding off a fast-finishing Smokin’ Joey.

The victory was Boban’s fifth successive race win.

Trainer Chris Waller was full of praise for the four-year-old after the race and said he was learning with every start.

“He’s dug very deep and it was a brave win,” Waller said.

“He’s no longer a horse that has to be snagged back to near last and taught to settle. To win good races you need to be able to do that.

Waller also said Boban could target next year’s Cox Plate.

“When you’re talking Cox Plates that’s a different story again,” Waller said.

“We’ll just start off down a weight-for-age path. Obviously having a taste of this carnival, a Cox Plate sounds pretty enticing.”

Boban was able to hold off Smokin’ Joey to claim the Emirates Stakes, with Speediness a close third.

The NSW trainer collected his third Group 1 of the Flemington carnival, adding Boban to his other superstar Zoustar and the grand mare Red Tracer.

After the four-year-old son of Bernadini became the first galloper in 27 years to win the Epsom-Emirates double (since Chanteclair in 1986), Waller affirmed his opinion of the galloper he inherited only 12 months ago.

“Yes, he is a superstar, for sure.”

The turnaround has been staggering since Waller gelded Boban, who now has graduated from a Benchmark 90 to dual Group 1 star with wins at his five starts this campaign.

He has taken his record to eight wins from 18 starts and prizemoney of $1,297,413.

“I gave up on him a year ago but he was gelded and now has the confidence to win.

“He will head to weight-for-age races in the autumn, with the Cox Plate in mind next spring.

“He has not been screwed down for any of his wins this campaign. He has done it on his own (ability). He certainly has a big future,” Waller said.

Glyn Schofield got one up on his Cox Plate-winning son Chad (Strike The Stars, who finished seventh) when he jumped Boban with the field, held his position and then hit the front 200m from home.

“He fought very hard today,” Waller said. “He got through at the 200m and he was brave. He was up from 53kg in the Epsom to 57kg today and he held them all at bay.”

Boban ($4.60 favourite) had a half-neck to spare from the amazingly improved Smokin’ Joey ($21), with the courageous Speediness ($9) only a neck away third.

Wild scenes followed the win as owners converged. Prominent owner Mark Pejic was stunned when John O’Neill planted a kiss on his lips.

“He wants to win,” O’Neill said.

“Just exhilarating,” Pejic said. “I thought he was struggling at the 100m, but he just wants to win. After he carried that weight (57kg) he has weight-for-age horse written all over him.”

Schofield said Boban was a serious galloper and could continue to improve. The normally slow started jumped well and held a prominent position “which will be important in weight-for-age races in the future.”

International Mull Of Killough, having his third run in two weeks, finished fourth at $18.

Solzhenitsyn, who finished last after being in the firing line, had a throat abnormality and will have a wind operation.

Boban has emerged as a new star of Australian racing with his Emirates Stakes victory, capping a memorable spring carnival for champion trainer Chris Waller and the Schofield family.

The Waller-trained Boban wrapped up a perfect campaign by landing his second Group One win in the Emirates Stakes on Saturday.

In doing so he became the first Epsom Handicap winner in 27 years to claim the Group One mile at Flemington in the same season.

In the process, Boban provided Sydney’s premier trainer with his third Group One of the four-day Flemington carnival and gave Glyn Schofield a triumph to go with that of his son Chad’s Cox Plate victory on Shamus Award.

Boban ($4.60 fav) carted 57kg in the 1600m feature, four kilos more than he carried in the Epsom two starts earlier.

But aided by a cool Schofield ride the favourite came from a midfield position in the straight to defeat Smokin’ Joey ($21) by a half neck with another short head to Speediness ($9).

“I think I said earlier in the week that Chad won the best race in the country and I was riding the best horse. And I think he’s proven that today,” Schofield said.

Schofield praised the job Waller has done with Boban, who started his campaign with a victory in a benchmark race in Sydney before winning his next four starts, two of them Group Ones.

“Chris Waller and his team have turned this horse around from a tearaway and a rogue to what we’ve seen today and through the carnival,” Schofield said.

“I’m just the lucky guy to get on his back.”

Boban became the sixth winner for Waller during Melbourne Cup week which included Group Ones last Saturday to Zoustar and Red Tracer.

Waller will set Boban a weight-for-age program in the autumn which is likely to include the Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2000m, with a view to being back in Melbourne next year for the Cox Plate.

“I thought he was the winner at the 100 metre mark but he had to find a lot,” Waller said.

“And that showed that he fights as well as has brilliance.

“He’s a pretty exciting horse looking towards the autumn and beyond.”

Smokin’ Joey went close to giving young trainer Wez Hunter a breakthrough Group One but in a brave performance he just failed after racing wide.

Speediness sprinted through on the inside and looked the likely winner at one point, only to be narrowly denied in a frustrating result for trainer Colin Scott.

“I’m sure his time will come,” Scott said.

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