Chris Waller believes there is a sense of timing surrounding Kolding this spring after the progressive gelding booked himself a spot in the Group One Epsom Handicap with a gallant win in the Bill Ritchie Handicap at Randwick.
Fierce Impact ($10) looked to have the 1400-metre race in his keeping when he accelerated to the front over the final furlong but Kolding ($7) surged again in the final bounds to nail the Matthew Smith-trained galloper and win the Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) by a head.
Leader Desert Lord ($5.50) showed good fight to hold third another 1-3/4 lengths away.
It was the second race in succession that went to Waller in a photo finish after Funstar narrowly got the Tea Rose Stakes verdict over Probabeel.
“That was a great finish. It shows you what a couple of bobs of the head does in terms of luck on race day,” Waller said.
“He’s a really nice horse and it was good to see him fight strong that last 50 when it looked like he might have been beaten.”
Waller pulled the right rein by scratching Kolding from the Cameron Handicap at Newcastle on Friday to run at Randwick, his win securing him a start in the Epsom in two weeks when he has 50.5kg.
The premier trainer is hoping to have up to five horses in the Group One mile and says the race is Kolding’s main spring target.
“It’s a winnable weight and there’s a sense of timing, it’s the race he’s been set for after winning the race at Eagle Farm, the Queensland Guineas,” Waller said.
“He’s a really nice horse, he showed that at the end of the autumn with the three races in a row that he won.”
Having his first ride on Kolding, Glen Boss was impressed with the feel he got from the horse and said the four-year-old did a good job to pick up again after Fierce Impact booted clear.
“He’s a quality individual with a real presence about him,” Boss said.
“I was confident at the top of the straight that I was going to run really well but when Nash on Fierce Impact put three quarters of a length on me really quick I thought, ‘oh gee that’s just too good’ but to his credit he lifted when I asked him to.
“That’s a good sign heading towards the Epsom.”