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Image: Steve Hart
Orchestral has taken out a dramatic renewal of the Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill.

Star New Zealand filly Orchestral has lived up to the hype with victory in the Group One Vinery Stud Stakes, but not before Nash Rawiller almost pulled off the ride of the carnival on a rival runner.

Rawiller took off on Tutta La Vita near the 600m, sooling her to the front in daring catch-me-if-you-can tactics.

Both Orchestral and second favourite Zardozi were flat out giving chase, the Kiwi finally wearing down Tutta La Vita near the line to score by a half-length with Zardozi another three-quarters of a length away third.

Watching from the grandstands, co-trainer Robert Wellwood said he briefly thought Rawiller’s move might have pinched the race.

“I thought we were tracking into it alright, but he got a little break on us and halfway up the straight I thought we were going to have to be very tough to win, and she was that,” Wellwood said.

Wellwood and training partner Roger James plundered last year’s Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) with Prowess and the former said winning it again was a significant achievement for their yard.

“We’re a small stable from New Zealand and to do it with horses we’ve bought ourselves and then bring them across and win this race two years in a row is thrilling,” he said.

“It’s a great effort by the filly coming back from a mile-and-a-half to now win over 2000. That residual fitness kicked in at the end.”

Connections of Orchestral will now weigh up whether she backs-up against the boys in next Saturday’s ATC Australian Derby (2400m) or waits another week for the Australian Oaks (2400m).

Wellwood said sticking to fillies’ company was the most likely option, but they would make a final call in the next few days.

“If it’s a Derby, we’ll make it pretty quickly,” Wellwood said.

“No decision will be made until we see her trot up and have a chat to connections, but the best thing is she has ticked the first box and got a Group One in Australia.”

There was drama before and after the Vinery with Victorian visitor Autumn Angel a late scratching after being found to have abrasions on her legs with stewards questioning co-trainer Katherine Coleman over when they appeared.

Coleman said they had been there prior to Saturday but being in Melbourne and with the horse in Sydney, she hadn’t realised they were so significant.

The stable was fined $1000, reduced to $750 due to the extenuating circumstances.

Rawiller and winning jockey James McDonald then added an interesting postscript to the race, McDonald mouthing something at his rival after the post before Rawiller extended his arm and made contact with McDonald’s shoulder.

The pair was called into the stewards’ room to explain their antics, with both assuring the stipes there was no malice in the incident and that it was “lighthearted”.

Zardozi’s jockey Tom Marquand said he would have liked a better tempo for his filly but felt she was on target for the Oaks in two weeks.

“I thought when Nash sprung it on, it might help us that last 100 metres, but the winner is a very good filly. Looking forward to a couple of weeks,” Marquand said.

 
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