Waller quinellas Epsom as Rediener, Kovalica fight out finish

Rediener under Kathy O’Hara claims the Group 1 Epsom Handicap. Photo: Racing NSW

Chris Waller has trained his fifth Epsom Handicap winner, with Rediener (+900) getting the better of stablemate Kovalica (+900) in another close photo finish in the second of three Group 1 contests at Randwick.

After drawing barrier two, Kathy O’Hara was able to settle her four-year-old gelding behind the speed and steer him through a gap late to finish off strong and hold off the fast-finishing Kovalica, with Joao Moreira getting everything out of the Queensland Derby winner.

Mid-race the favourite Nugget (+600) was stuck three-wide, so Damien Oliver elected to set him alight around the outside and join Golden Mile (+1500) in the lead, which set the race up for something to run on from the back of the field.

Although he had to absorb the pressure from Nugget and led for most of the 1600m, Golden Mile managed to hold on for third place and finished half-a-length off the Waller quinella.

2023 Group 1 Epsom Replay – Redeiner | T: Chris Waller | J: Kathy O’Hara

Chris Waller was quite emotional speaking post-race about the win of Rediener.

“Very special for Kathy (O’Hara), Charlie’s (Duckworth) wife. It’s great, Kathy is just an amazing toiler,” an emotional Waller said of the winning jockey.

“Sydney racing 52 weeks a year she just gives it her best, amazing horse person.

“When he won in Queensland we set him for this race, but setting horses for races is not easy.

“But to see him win like he did first-up it gave us a little bit of hope and the barrier draw (gate 2) was obviously a plus.”

Kathy O’Hara won her third Group 1 in the Epsom, and she spoke post-race about the success.

“How bloody good, I can’t believe it,” O’Hara said.

“Really thankful obviously to Chris (Waller) and Charlie (Duckworth – partner) and the whole team to be given these opportunities.

“He was making me nervous, I was like ‘Can you stop being so weird? Just let this happen, you’re making me nervous.’ I think he was dreaming big, he’d be delighted.

“Had a lovely run, it just panned out lovely for him and he produced the goods.

“It was awesome. It was pretty much a carbon copy of last time (win in the G3 Bill Ritchie).

“When (Damien) Oliver (on Nugget – 10th) come around at the half mile I was pretty happy that they put a bit more tempo on because I thought they could leave me a bit flat-footed here.

“I was delighted to see a bit of tempo in the race and he was good late.”

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