Chris Waller has added a new training achievement to his impressive record, with Performer securing his first Listed Breeders’ Plate with a record-setting debut at Randwick.
Waller has rarely succeeded with a two-year-old before Christmas but the Exceed And Excel colt lived up to his name to start recouping his $450,000 price tag.
Ridden by Hugh Bowman, Performer ($5) clocked 56.82 seconds over the 1000m to eclipse the 57.00 Murtajill recorded in 2006.
He surged clear at the 100m mark to hit the line three-quarters of a length clear of Bondi ($4.60).
Santos ($18) was 1-3/4 lengths further back in third.
Waller was quick to credit his staff.
“We’ve started targeting some nice colts with running speed, which we haven’t really done in the past because we’ve been targeting milers,” he said.
“It’s a whole new system we’ve put in place to simply allow him (Performer) to get here.”
Sydney’s premier trainer said although a lack of success with two-year-olds could be considered the missing link in his operation, it was a balancing act.
“It could also be our strong point by giving horses time. It certainly hasn’t held us back in terms of end-of-year performances,” he said.
“What it’s meant is we don’t get first pick of the well-bred horses. They go to the two-year-old trainers so we miss out on a lot of opportunity.
“Now we’re identifying a few early types and allowing them to get through to the races so that might see us get some more two-year-old types next year.”
Peter and Paul Snowden claimed the previous two editions of the Breeders’ Plate but a filly took centre stage among their debutants when Satin Slipper ($6.50) pipped Setsuna ($21) by a head in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m).
Satin Slipper is out of Pierro and Satin Shoes and owned by long-term breeder Belinda Bateman, who lost her husband, Edmund, in September 2015.
“She’s from a very classy two-year-old family. It’s very special for Mrs Bateman, who is carrying on the tradition,” Paul Snowden said.
Fiesta ($13) was a length adrift in third while $500,000 yearling and $4.60 favourite Witherspoon finished eighth after jumping from the outside gate.