Atishu blows them away in Champions Stakes

Waller mare atones in Final Day feature.

ATISHU. Picture: Steve Hart

Atishu completed a Stakes Day Group 1 clean sweep for the girls with a dominant win in the $3 million Champions Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.

The Chris Waller-trained five-year-old atoned for a game second in last Saturday's Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes with a dominant win in the 2000-metre event.

Her victory came 40 minutes after Pride Of Jenni, who condemned Atishu to the runner-up stall last Saturday, won the Champions Mile with star Kiwi sprinter Imperatriz having earlier won the Champions Sprint.

Waller was thrilled to see Atishu back up so well after one of the runs of the day on Derby Day.

"I think she should have won a Group 1 on the first day, (but) we all think that as owners and trainers when they don't win," he said.

"To see Pride Of Jenni come out and blow them way in the race before, I guess that gave us a little bit of confidence."

Atishu's win was the second Group 1 success of the week for the Waller/James McDonald combination, who also won the Victoria Derby with Riff Rocket.

The Champions Stakes win was the second at the highest level for Atishu, following Queen Of The Turf success at Randwick earlier this year, and gave her back-to-back 2000m wins on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival after Group 2 Matriarch Stakes success last year.

The Savabeel six-year-old's explosive turn of foot was a key to victory in the race that was led by UK galloper West Wind Blows, who was last out of the stalls but looped the field to take up the running.

He was beaten early in the straight, which was when Atishu was warming up and the $8.50 chance surged to the front 250m out before pulling away to score by 1-3/4 lengths from another mare, Duais ($7), who was Damien Oliver's final ride in a Cup Week Group 1.

Duais finished a half-neck clear of $51 chance Young Werther with Zaaki ($4.40), who was shooting for a third straight win in the race close up in fourth.

McDonald, who also won Thursday's Group 1 VRC Oaks aboard Zardozi, said it was a deserved win for Atishu.

"Horses don't run that well (in the Empire Rose Stakes) and not win so to run second behind a horse that franked the form in the previous, when I walked out to Chris for the instructions I said, 'we're on a winner, I reckon'," McDonald said.

"(I thought), 'we've just got to do the little things right and get the splits when we need it' and she was fantastic, unbelievable."

Atishu has now won nine of 37 starts with Saturday's $1.8m winner's cheque almost doubling her career earnings to $3,691,870.