Chris Waller and Winx's part-owner Peter Tighe are striving for first Caulfield Cup with Finche
Tears have flowed in the home of Winx’s part-owner Peter Tighe over the last few days but a Caulfield Cup win with Finche would be just the pick-me-up that’s needed at the end of a tragic week.
Tighe’s wife Patty has been making regular phone calls to check on the welfare of Winx after she lost her first foal in a sad development which touched the racing world.
“For all of us it’s been quite an emotional week, Patty has quite at attachment to Winx,” Tighe said.
“We have been in touch with the farm and the carers looking after her and Patty rings on a daily basis which is what she needs to do.
“Winx is fine, she got a good report this morning she has been good right through considering what she has been through.
“She got a good tick of approval. She is starting to bounce back.”
Patty and Peter Tighe with Hugh Bowman during the good times with Winx. Pic: Rohan Kelly.
The Tighes – and trainer Chris Waller – will be aiming to win their first Caulfield Cup with former import Finche set for Saturday’s race and also the Melbourne Cup right from the moment he was beaten less than a length and a half in the Melbourne Cup last year.
Finche was given a lengthy break and his first race since last year’s Melbourne Cup was when finishing third in the Group 2 Chelmsford at Randwick last month, then finishing third behind stablemate and Caulfield Cup favourite Verry Elleegant in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes.
Finche’s run in the Turnbull was full of merit considering he was wide with no cover throughout but was still in the midst of battle late.
The Finche camp’s only concern is if forecast rain takes the Caulfield track into the heavy zone because he is a long-striding horse.
Since the tragic news about Winx’s foal, Tighe had had two winners with Yonkers scoring at Caulfield on Wednesday and Nyami scoring at Kembla Grange on Thursday.
But he admits emotions will bubble over at the end of a sad week if Finche can claim the Caulfield Cup.
“It is always a pick-me-up to win a race and especially at a time like this,” Tighe said.
“Chris and I have spoken during the week and I have said, well we just have to go on and win a Caulfield Cup.
“It’s something neither of us have done and I’d very much like to do it with Chris.
“Finche was purchased and raced for a specific reason and that was to win a Caulfield or Melbourne Cup.
“We pulled up stumps after last year, on the first Tuesday in November, with a plan of coming back this year to right where we are now.
“We didn’t race raced in autumn and then he was rested and he has been really lightly raced for a horse of seven years of age.”
Trainer Chris Waller. Pic: NCA NewsWire.
Finche, a gelded son of Frankel, has raced nine times in Australia for only one win and that was in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes at Randwick last year.
TAB has Finche as a $12 Caulfield Cup chance to end an emotional week on a high for Waller and Tighe.
“Finche hasn’t had a lot of luck in the big races including the Turnbull Stakes last start where from the wide gate, he rolled forward and was left a sitting duck from a long way out,” Waller said.
“This was similar in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups last year where through barrier draws and the way the races were run, he has just been a little bit too close.
“I feel that from tomorrow’s draw (12), we will firstly endeavour to find cover and we might be able to time his run just a little bit better.”
Damian Lane is striving for back-to-back Caulfield Cups after his win last year on elite Japanese raider Mer De Glace.
Waller also had two other Caulfield Cup runners, multiple Group I winner Verry Elleegant ($5) and Toffee Tongue ($15).
“Verry Elleegant certainly showed her class by winning the Turnbull Stakes without things going perfectly,” Waller said.
“Mark Zahra got on well with her on that occasion and has done a lot of work on her since.
“I think this is important because she is a tricky horse and in trackwork – he has certainly adjusted well to her and vice versa.
“Her draw (11) is okay, she is a horse that doesn’t like to be in on the fence so giving her some room would be the ideal situation.
“Toffee Tongue’s win in the South Australian Oaks certainly franks her ability and seeing her run so well in the Australian Derby over 2400m gives me the confidence that she will stay the distance on Saturday.”
Read all News by Ben Dorries