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Craig Grylls was hero and villain for Cambridge trainer Murray Baker in an eventful Group Two Royal Stakes at Ellerslie.

Te Awamutu jockey Grylls won the 2000-metre race for Baker aboard Saavoya, but caused interference that brought down two stablemates in the process.

Grylls found a gap on Saavoya in the home straight but in the process caused interference which caused stablemate De Kensington Oval to fall.

Another stablemate Ezra then fell over De Kensington Oval, while the interference also stopped Darci’s Dream and Palace Rock in their tracks.

In the meantime, Saavoya was able to get to favourite Vavasour and proved too strong by a half length, adding to her success in the Group Two Eight Carat Classic on Boxing Day.

“We’ve always rated her,” Baker said.

“It was just unfortunate that the mishap in the race involved two of our horses. That’s how it goes.”

“But the horses and riders are okay, that’s the main thing.”

Baker said Saavoya was likely to follow the Filly of the Year series and ultimately head to the Group One New Zealand Oaks (2400m) in March.

Many of Saavoya’s owners were in the team that raced It’s A Dundeel.

Grylls later pleaded guilty to a careless riding charge.

“From the draw she didn’t get a lot of luck and she didn’t have the best run,” Grylls said.

“When they went wide at the corner I was able to cut the corner a bit and gee, she’s got a good turn of foot.”

Saavoya and Vavasour were six lengths clear of the rest, headed by another Baker runner, Charmont.

Baker made it a Group Two double later in the day when improving gelding Sakhee’s Secret took out the Rich Hill Mile (1600m), his fifth consecutive win.

“He’s certainly turned out a better horse than I thought he would, but he just keeps improving,” Baker said.

 
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