Joliestar claims Group 1 Thousand Guineas

Joliestar ridden by James McDonald wins the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield. (Photo by Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

Chris Waller & James McDonald have combined for back-to-back Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) successes, with Joliestar (+360) replicating the feat of Madame Pommery in last year’s edition.

The daughter of Zoustar put the writing on the wall last start at Flemington in the Listed Desirable Stakes, producing a blistering finish from near last to secure a second-place finish.

The market gravitated to the Chris Waller-trained filly prior to the jump, with Joliestar opening as much as +550 firming into +360 as it became clear you needed to be prominent in the run at Caulfield.

That’s exactly what James McDonald elected to do from barrier one, keeping the three-year-old within striking distance before the turn, then storming away from her rivals when asked for the ultimate effort.

Coeur Volante (+290) got a lovely economical run under Blake Shinn, managing to find the one-one from barrier five, however, she was unable to produce her customary turn-of-foot, while Kimochi (+800) was as honest as ever, powering into second.

It all came to hand rather quickly for Skybird (+320), and she was far from disgraced finishing into a third-place finish, making up strong inroads late on a day where it was tough to make ground.

2023 Thousand Guineas Replay – Joliestar | T: Chris Waller | J: James McDonald

Joliestar proved too good on the day, and Chris Waller spoke about his filly post-race.

“For a three-year-old filly it’s a pretty long range plan,” said Waller.

“She’s still only starting her career, but we did identify that she had ability right from the start.

“Cambridge Stud, Brendan and Jo Lindsay, Henry Plumptre, really liked her at the sales. We could afford her and I got her to train, but it’s been justified in their investments. They’re a great nursery in New Zealand and they spread their wings in Australia each Carnival.

“So to train one for them with James McDonald aboard is pretty cool.”

“The progression of good horses is a lot easiest than average horses, it’s a simple as that. She’s done it herself. I’ve found the races, she’s turned up.”

James McDonald was expecting a bold performance today as he spoke about his mount in the aftermath of his Group 1 success.

“I had such a really good feeling about her that she was building towards something,” said McDonald.

“Her run was fantastic last start with a really good gate and being to get a really good trip in transit, she was always going to produce.

“It was pivotal today (drawing barrier one), especially on the circle track has been playing a little bit up and in that a few of the leaders have had, so we were grinning ear to ear walking out.

“She’s had a feeling about her that her whole preparation that she has kept improving and improving but she hasn’t been winning.

“She hasn’t had a lot of luck so I thought today from barrier one she was going to get every chance.”

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