Via Sistina runs Ranvet rivals ragged

Chris Waller has confirmed Ranvet Stakes winner Via Sistina will progress straight to the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

VIA SISTINA winning the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill in Australia.
VIA SISTINA winning the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill in Australia. Picture: Steve Hart

A carefully laid plan to follow the successful template of UK trainer William Haggas has delivered an immediate reward, with Via Sistina claiming the Group One Ranvet Stakes at her Australian debut.

Champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller had been forced to watch from afar as Haggas plundered the Ranvet-Queen Elizabeth Stakes double with Addeybb in 2020 then Dubai Honour last year.

Both horses came through the Champions Stakes at Ascot the previous October and had undergone the bulk of their training before boarding the plane from England.

So when Yulong bought 2023 Champions Stakes runner-up Via Sistina a few months ago, Waller and the growing powerhouse hatched a plan to emulate the Haggas blueprint.

"Follow what William Haggas does and you don't go far wrong," Waller said.

"Yulong are great, they listen, they know their horses and they're gathering momentum very quickly.

"She is a different level to what we normally see in Australia. It's a privilege to train her."

Waller admitted to some pre-race reservations that the small field may have resulted in a slow tempo and that was how it panned out, but Via Sistina was able to adapt.

Think It Over made the running at his leisure but found himself under siege halfway up the straight as James Mcdonald began to ask Via Sistina to go through her gears.

The $2.30 favourite swept down the outside and was running away at the finish, putting 1-1/4 lengths on fellow Yulong-owned import Place Du Carrousel ($6) with the winner's barn mate Buckaroo (9) a further half-head away third.

Via Sistina's performance didn't surprise her new trainer as not only did the mare bring Group 1 European formlines, she had settled into Sydney without a hiccup.

"She had done a lot of work before coming out here," Waller said.

"We haven't done anything with her, just kept her ticking over.

"For a mare, she's coming into the European spring and that is how she thinks so her coat is coming through beautifully."

The race produced an ideal result for Yulong with their mares finishing first and second, much to the delight of Yulong general manager Vin Cox.

"For her to win first-up at Group One and for the other mare to run second is outstanding," Cox said.

"Place Du Carrousel is probably looking for a bit further so what she has done is just ideal."

The runner-up is some chance to back up in next weekend's Ranvet Stakes while Waller says Via Sistina will go straight to next month's Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick without another run.

Think It Over didn't offer his usual fight when challenged in the straight and jockey Nash Rawiller said he didn't feel at his best.

"I felt when I really asked him to lengthen under pressure, he didn't quite do that like he normally does," Rawiller said.

"At this stage, fingers crossed that he has come through the race well. I'm sure he will, there is nothing seriously wrong.

"I think it's the first sign that it might be the time to back off."