Godolphin has repelled the Chris Waller army in the Chelmsford Stakes – but not with the horse anyone expected.
Waller had 11 of the 16 runners in the Group Two Chelmsford (1600m) at Randwick with Godolphin sending out two – Hartnell ($4.60) and Complacent ($41).
The Waller-trained Royal Descent and Pornichet from the Gai Waterhouse stable went out the $3.50 equal favourites on a soft track that was playing to horses on the speed.
The winner of the 2013 Spring Champion Stakes, Complacent was having just his second start since recovering from a tendon injury suffered after he ran second in that year’s Victoria Derby.
In a field with many stayers resuming, Sam Clipperton let Complacent make his way to the lead and the five-year-old didn’t falter, beating Royal Descent by a soft 1-1/4 lengths.
Royal Descent’s Doncaster Mile-winning stablemate Kermadec finished another 1-1/2 lengths third with Hartnell fourth.
The winner’s trainer John O’Shea said the plaudits belonged to the stable’s vets who had persevered with Complacent who spends most of his time in the country surrounds of Godolphin’s Osborne Park property in northwest Sydney.
“We were thinking about giving him a run in the autumn and I wasn’t quite happy with him and we ran out of races,” O’Shea said.
“Our vets and all the team at Osborne have worked on this horse for two years.
“It’s been an unbelievable performance from everyone there. He’s a great horse. You only need to look at his record.
“I’m not going to rush it. We’ll get there.”
O’Shea said he preferred to keep Complacent close to home.
“If he’s going to run in a Cup, he’ll run in the Caulfield Cup and that would do him.
“I don’t really want him too far away from Osborne.”
Clipperton said he let Complacent tell him how to run the race.
“He’s a big, strong horse and you can’t fight him too much,” he said.
“I’m very impressed in the way he quickened.
“I just let him build up momentum and he just kept building and building and building.”
Waller was proud of his team, many of which are heading to major staying races this spring.
“Royal Descent was maybe a bit flat second-up after her Warwick Stakes win but she still finished the race off well,” he said.
“I’m very pleased with Kermadec and the others are heading in the right direction.”
Complacent’s win was in contrast to the performance of his stablemate Contributer who lost his share of Cox Plate favouritism when fifth in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley won by The Cleaner.