Chris Waller claims first VRC St Leger

A pedestrian speed along with a firmer track has provided champion trainer Chris Waller with his first win in the VRC St Leger at Flemington.

And in winning the Listed race over 2800m on Thursday, Ahuriri became the first filly to win the traditional staying contest for three-year-olds on Anzac Day since Exceptionally in 2010.

Ridden by Damian Lane, Ahruiri ($3.60) scored by 2-¼ lengths from the $3.30 betting app favourite Alma Rise with Sambucus ($101) a further 1-¼ length away third.

The 2800m trip on a Good 4 rated surface was run in 3.03.03, the slowest time since Dornier won the race in 2015 in 3.05.27 on heavy ground.

Dermot O’Brien, representing the Waller stable, said Ahuriri had appreciated getting back on top of the ground on Thursday after finishing eighth in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) Randwick on April 6.

“The difference between the ground that day and today was telling,” O’Brien said.

“She’s a handy sized filly and she coped very well today, and it was a great win.”

Lane said he was mindful of not giving the leaders, Ganbare and Alma Rise, a big start.

He was happy with where he settled but had anticipated a slightly stronger tempo.

“It all kicked into place for her,” Lane said.

“It was good placement by the team, and you can always be confident when you throw your leg over these horses that they’re fit and well.

“She was that and she handled it pretty well.

“I was mindful that first and second were the two to beat in the run, although I thought the leader might go a more genuine tempo.

“I didn’t want to be giving it too much of a head start and I was able to get into a great position, two or three lengths off the speed, so when they did go steady it really helped me, helped me get into the race on the corner and her turn of foot was way too good.”

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