Toffee Tongue sweet in Australasian Oaks
Toffee Tongue winning the Gr.1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville on Saturday. Photo: Atkins Photography
Chris Waller has pulled off another Group One training coup with Toffee Tongue breaking her maiden in style in the Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
The filly had been runner-up at her four starts leading into Saturday's Adelaide feature, twice to Colette in the Gr.2 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) and the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m).
Her victory was also a milestone for jockey Damien Thornton who recorded his first win at the highest level after running second in the same race on Sheezdashing two years ago.
Although she went into the race a maiden, punters recognised her class and sent Toffee Tongue out the $5 favourite and the daughter of Tavistock duly delivered by three-quarters of a length over Moonlight Maid ($11).
Waller said the original intention had been to send Toffee Tongue to Queensland but the Oaks in Brisbane has been cancelled as part of a reduced winter carnival impacted by the Covid-10 pandemic.
"We only decided to send her to Adelaide after she ran so well in the Australian Oaks and the Adrian Knox before that," Waller said.
"She was earmarked for Queensland.
“Even though it was her first win, I felt she was always improving.
"Her run in the Adrian Knox Stakes was great and her run in the Australian Oaks was brilliant.
"She perhaps should have finished at least a bit closer.
"It's great to get the Group One with her."
Thornton had Toffee Tongue well positioned on the fence and stuck to the inside in the run home with Moonlight Maid making her run late.
Affair To Remember ($6.50) was wider and closed late to finish on the heels of Moonlight Miad.
With biosecurity protocols in place regarding interstate travel, Waller said although neither he nor any of his staff could go to Adelaide with the filly, he had the next best thing.
"Andrew Clarken worked for me for about 10 years and he has taken out his own licence in Adelaide so I was able to send the horses to him and it was like they were being looked after by our own staff," he said.
Waller, who won the Australasian Oaks three years ago with Egg Tart, said he expected the Jonathan Munz-owned Toffee Tongue to be a force again in her next preparation and would again step up to longer distances.
"She has got the breeding to be a really good horse," he said. "She is a sister to Werther, a Hong Kong horse of the year and a Hong Kong Derby winner.
"It was 2000m today but 2400m is certainly not a negative."
The daughter of Tavistock is also a full-sister to Group One performer Milseain and Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) winner Gobstopper.
Toffee Tongue was bought by bloodstock agent Dean Hawthorne out of Highden Park’s 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale Book 1 draft for Munz’ Pinecliff Racing.
Her dam, Bagalollies, a daughter of Zabeel, resides at Highden Park in Manawatu and the farm’s principals Libby and Sam Bleakley said Toffee Tongue is a mirror image of her mother.
Toffee Tongue becomes the fifth individual Group One winner for Cambridge Stud stallion Tavistock, who died last year.
When crossed with Zabeel mares, the progeny of Tavistock operate at 10 percent stakes winners to runners.