Montefilia gets over the Hill for Yulong Investments

Nash Rawiller’s belated emergence from the jockeys’ room was just the sign the Chris Waller stable needed to know he was ready to produce a riding masterclass on Montefilia in the Hill Stakes.

Rawiller didn’t disappoint, settling the six-year-old worse than midfield before picking a passage through in the straight and bringing her with a barnstorming run down the outside to score her first win for new owners Yulong.

Representing winning trainer Chris Waller, racing manager Charlie Duckworth said they hadn’t made any significant changes to Montefilia’s training and credited Rawiller with doing his homework and executing to perfection on the high-class mare.

“Nash is the master of getting the best out of horses, it’s as simple as that,” Duckworth said.

“He was last out of the room, so I knew he was plotting and planning. He came out and did what he said he was going to do and the rest is history.”

Duckworth did admit to some anxiety early in the race when Rawiller didn’t quite follow his instructions.

“We told him to be one-off (the fence) throughout the whole race and he went straight to the fence so I was a little bit nervous then about what Chris was going to be saying, ‘did you give Nash the right instructions here?’” Duckworth said.

“When you’re on a horse of her calibre, it’s easier to ride with that added confidence.

“On her day she is clearly the best horse in the race and he came up with a mentality saying there’s juice in the ground, she’s got a soft gate, she’s getting deeper into her preparation so she’s rock-hard fit, I’m just going to trust Chris in having her right and trust the horse being good enough and that was the case.”

A multiple Group 1 winner for David Payne, Montefilia was purchased for $3.4 million by Yulong earlier this year and transferred to Waller.

Duckworth said it was a difficult situation to take over a star horse from a rival stable, but he was also happy to see Yulong recoup some of their investment.

“Every Group One horse is so special to each individual trainer and it’s like taking their daughter or son of them and saying, ‘I’m going to have a crack at training it now’,” Duckworth said.

“I do feel for David. The ownership group chose to sell and Yulong were very vigilant with the vetting process and believed she could race on.

“Obviously they’ve put their hands in their pockets really deep for multiple years now in buying these high-priced mares but that’s the beauty of racing in today’s age. You’re racing for $2 million here and she wins back a massive portion of what they spent on her and they’ve still got her as a broodmare.”

Rawiller said he was always confident he was going to find a passage through on Montefilia despite her being behind a wall of horses on straightening and felt she won with something in hand.

“If there was another 100 metres, she wins by three-and-a-half or four (lengths). She was motoring that last 100 metres,” Rawiller said.

Montefilia’s ($3.40 Dabble fav) official winning margin was half-length over Hoo Ya Mal ($4.80) with Protagonist ($6.50) another neck away

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