Allan Denham made a welcome return to the city winner’s circle at Randwick on Saturday with Ichihara labelled the best sprinting filly in Sydney by her jockey Brenton Avdulla.
A multiple Group One winning trainer, Denham has relocated from Rosehill to Wyong and downsized his stable.
Ichihara is clearly the star of his team and he was thrilled to see her back winning the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) at her first start since her third in the Silver Shadow Stakes four weeks ago.
Avdulla camped Ichihara ($6) on the back of leader Raceway ($4.80) and let down in the straight to stride to the front.
Villa Splendido ($12) chased her home to finish 2-1/4 lengths second with another filly Agueda ($6.50) a further 1-1/2 lengths third.
“I didn’t want her to get into a speed battle and it worked out perfectly,” Denham said.
“She will be nominated for the Reginald Allen Handicap next week and depending on what weight she gets she will either run there or the following week.
“I think 1200 metres is as far as she wants at the moment.”
Avdulla said he was confident a long way out.
“It’s the best she’s let down today,” he said.
“She has still got improvement.
“I’d go as far as to say she is the best sprinting filly in Sydney at the moment.”
Denham said he was enjoying training on the Central Coast.
“I’ve got 17 in work but they are building me a 24 horse barn on the track,” he said.
“It’s all good.”
The favourite Relaxed And Happy ($2.70) weakened noticeably to finish last and was not extended by Hugh Bowman who told stewards there was nothing left when he asked him for an effort in the straight.
Trainer Gerald Ryan was thrilled with the performance of Villa Splendido who has missed her past two scheduled starts due to a stone bruise.
“I’m very pleased,” he said.
“She’s had a couple of setbacks but that shows she’s back on track and she will go to Melbourne now for a 1400 metre race at Flemington and then the Thousand Guineas.”
Ichihara is raced by her breeder George Altomonte who won the Heritage in 2003 with Hasna.