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Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes: Waliyak Looks, Acts the Part

October 16, 2021

It’s not only what the daughter of Le Havre does on the racetrack that earns high praise from trainer Roger Varian.

The four wins and 12 top-three finishes from 14 starts no doubt has made a pleasing impression on the four-year-old filly’s connections.

But Waliyak’s allure goes well beyond just the numbers.

“She makes my life easy,” said Varian. “She’s a giver without being overly enthusiastic.”

A Classic winning trainer, who has amassed over 1,000 winners, Varian is happy to take the reins as the enthusiastic one when it comes to Waliyak.

It’s easily understandable as to why he would feel that way.

Launching her career in October 2019 with a second at Newmarket, Waliyak went on to post a record of 1-4-0 from her first five starts, including a maiden-breaking effort at Wolverhampton in her third engagement.

After compiling a 1-2-0 record from five starts in 2020, the dark bay, owned by Fawzi Abdulla Nass, has been at the top of her game this season going 2-1-3 from six starts.

She won the Dick Hern Stakes on August 7, was second in the Group 3 Atalanta Stakes on August 21 and took top prize in the Group 3 Prix Bertrand de Tarragon at Chantilly on September 17.

“That was at nine furlongs, the first time she had gone beyond the mile this year, at Chantilly, which is a stiff track and quite tough ground,” noted Varian, of the latest victory. “She was very strong at the finish and that gave us encouragement to go back to the mile-and-a-quarter [E.P. Taylor distance]. She’s been training very well.”

Varian has long been fond of the filly bred in France by Soledad De Moratalla and Alban Chev.

Her consistent ways and uncomplicated personality continue to draw high praise from the trainer.

“She’s always been a good filly and she’s often been a ‘nearly’ filly, chalking up a lot of seconds and thirds in her career. But she just seems to be maturing at the right time and she’s put in two very good performances, winning a listed and then a Group 3. So, she’s deserving of her place in this field, I think.”

A race that continually draws top turf fillies and mares from around the globe, the Grade 1 $600,000 E.P. Taylor, set for this Sunday at Woodbine, is certainly no different than in years past.

That said, Varian is confident that Waliyak, making her first start outside of Europe, will put forth another strong showing.

“She’s rarely, if ever, run a bad race, and she’s a very good-looking filly, with a big pedigree, and she’s put it all together at the moment. These races are never easy, but I’m sure she’s not out of place in the lineup. I think the track will suit her and she goes into the race in good form.”

Waliyak is, as Varian proudly heralds, a joy to have in his stable.

“She works every day and has a very good temperament. She’s never given us any trouble and as you can see, she’s run consistently from day one. She’s a very sound filly. They rarely come as straight forward as she is.”

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications

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