By George, Kolding back in winner’s stall

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Sun 20th September 2020

Chris Waller has claimed a seventh George Main Stakes crown at Randwick but not with the horse punters expected.

Sydney’s dominant trainer saddled up four of the seven runners in the Group One mile on Saturday with Verry Elleegant a warm $2.20 favourite.

But it was his pin-up horse from last spring, the Epsom Handicap and Golden Eagle winner Kolding, who delivered Waller his seventh George Main Stakes triumph in the past nine years.

It was Kolding’s first victory since last year’s Golden Eagle but Waller said the horse never lost form and had been hindered by a combination of wet tracks, wide barriers and racing in the left-handed direction.

“Things just haven’t gone his way,” Waller said.

“He went to Melbourne and he didn’t like the left-handed way of going, that was a disaster of a prep.

“He came back and ran well with the big weight in the Doncaster and that was his last good run, then we went one run too far.”

Waller is unsure of immediate plans for Kolding but he has ruled out a return to Melbourne this spring.

He is lukewarm on chasing back-to-back Epsoms due to Kolding’s 56.5kg handicap but has not taken the race off the table.

“He’s not really a chance to go to Melbourne when he failed so badly,” Waller said.

“The Epsom, or maybe he is our George Ryder horse for the autumn.

“There are races like the Yes Yes Yes at the end of the carnival. We will keep everything open.”

Kolding ($9.50) led in a Waller trifecta, beating Star Of The Seas ($12) by a long neck with Imaging ($9.50) another long head away.

Verry Elleegant struggled to get clear running but warmed up late once clear for fourth.

Waller indicated she would have her next run in the Turnbull Stakes in Melbourne and said she did not appreciate being cluttered.

“I think she is probably best with a bit of freedom to get rolling and let loose to do her thing,” he said.

Both Star Of The Seas and Imaging will press on to the Epsom in two weeks, a race Waller has won four times.

“It’s just a great race, especially at this time of year because it is a fork in the road towards so many other races,” Waller said.

The 2019 George Main Stakes winner Avilius never threatened to finish fifth in an effort jockey Hugh Bowman said was “disappointing”.