Gai Waterhouse celebrates first VRC Oaks

An excited Gai Waterhouse has celebrated victory in one of the few big races to have eluded her with Pinot dominating the finish of the VRC Oaks.

The fillies Classic is a staying test over 2500 metres at Flemington and the occasion has proven too much for the odds-on favourite Aloisia.

Sent out at $1.80 on Thursday, Aloisia needed to be re-shod at the barriers and raced keenly throughout, finishing sixth more than three lengths from the winner.

Pinot missed the start but settled well for Stephen Baster after that hiccup.

“I saw her walking around before the race and thought it’s like you’ve been here a thousand times before,” Waterhouse said.

“She kicked their brains in today. I got a bit of a fright when she didn’t jump out of the gates, but Stephen just took his time with her.

“He didn’t spend a penny, and the further she went, the bigger the margin.”

“It’s so exciting. I’ve never won this race before.

“Stephen is such an asset to the stable. We have had an association going back 20 years and he said the last time he had ridden a horse like this it was Tuesday Joy.”

Tuesday Joy didn’t quite get the job done when second to Miss Finland in 2006.

At $5.50, PInot was closest to Aloisia in the market and travelled well mid-race before drawing clear in the straight to defy her challengers.

She had 1-1/4 lengths to spare on Bring Me Roses ($31) with Hyaam ($21) another 1-1/2 lengths third.

Bet365

Waterhouse, who trains in partnership with Adrian Bott in Sydney, approached American racing concern Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ president Aron Wellman in 2015 and persuaded him to come to Australia on a fact-finding mission.

That led to Wellman buying a major share in Pinot at the 2016 Easter Sale in Sydney.

“It’s his first venture into Australian racing,” Bott said.

“They were testing the waters with this filly and they will be celebrating.

“It’s a very special win for Gai and I’m just delighted to be a part of it.”

Also delighted to be a part of the story is Baster who rides work when the stable brings its team to Melbourne for the carnivals.

That has translated into eight winners from 11 rides for the stable in the past month.

“She went up in the air from the gates and lost two lengths,” Baster said.

“But she switched off and relaxed, so I went to plan B and went around them.

“It went against everything I’ve been taught as a jockey, but we got an easy half mile and when they came, I knew we still had some gears left. She’s just a dead-set star.

“I’ve been riding a long time now, and there’s no way I thought I’d ride Gai’s first winner in the Oaks. It’s amazing that she hasn’t done it before.”

Pinot’s six starts, of which she has won three, have all been in Victoria but she will now be set for races over the Sydney autumn carnival.