Strapper Glen Barnes with Royal Descent. Photo: SuppliedGerry Harvey made a captain’s call to have Royal Descent run in the Caulfield Cup.
Royal Descent is the queen of the Chris Waller stable and has clocked up six group 1 seconds, the latest in the Turnbull Stakes, in a photo finish, at the beginning of the month, which led to Harvey’s decision.
“After the Turnbull, I rang Claire [Bird] my racing manager and said I would like to run her in the Caulfield Cup and we had a blue,” Harvey said.
“She told me ‘I am not doing that to this horse … she can’t run in a Caulfield Cup again’. I said it’s my horse and I want to run there. It was a robust discussion.
“She ran in it as a four-year-old and was beaten 1.9 lengths, she is six now and they all say she is better than ever, so why not have another go?
“She wins this I might have a Melbourne Cup runner.”
Harvey can dream big and he has the best trainer in the country and the very-confident Glen Boss in the saddle to help cause a shock at Caulfield on Saturday. But the outside stall of 22 makes things tough.
“[Claire] and Chris had the Myer [Classic] picked out for [Royal Descent] and wanted to go there. The Caulfield Cup is one of the top five races in the country and for someone like me who is addicted to racing it’s something I want to win,” Harvey said. “You don’t get too many chances to win it.
“The next day we were talking about something else and I asked her about Royal Descent and she said we had paid up. She had talked to the trainer and Bossy, she wasn’t happy but thought it was worth a crack.”
Royal Descent might not have the superstar record – her only group 1 was the n Oaks in 2013 – but she has a following because she turned up for every battle and is invariably in the finish.
She has been a runner-up in the George Main Stakes for the past three years as well as seconds in an Epsom and a Doncaster, a race she was third in this year. She has earned respect even though her record is only five wins from 29 starts, with 15 placings.
“People like her,” Harvey said. “They don’t feel sorry for me when she runs second but they feel sorry for the horse.
“I think a lot people would love to see her win a big race, because of what she’s done. Why not a Caulfield Cup?”
It is a question that Boss has a positive answer to, after being in the saddle in the Turnbull Stakes when Preferment just got the better of her.
“If Preferment was there on the weekend he would be favourite,” Boss said. “I can’t believe she is still 20-1. She beat them all home in the Turnbull.
“She is a fully mature mare now and there are no weaknesses. I’m not worried about the gate because I think we are going to end up in the same position in the run anyway.”
Waller will also saddle Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman in the Caulfield Cup but there is something about Royal Descent for him and the stable.
“She is a different mare this time – you just have to look at her and the way she does things,” Waller said. “She never lets us down. Glen is confident, it is one of those things you want to hear from your jockey.”
Royal Descent is steady at $21 quote with Ladbrokes in a market that has not seen too much change since the barrier draw on Tuesday. Mongolian Khan remains the $4.80 top pick but the good draws for Rising Romance and English stayer Snow Sky have seen their prices trimmed to $10 and $11. They have joined Set Square, Fame Game and Hauraki at the $10 line.