There were emotional scenes in the enclosure at Rosehill following the sparkling win of Racing To Win in the Group II Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) on Saturday.
The five time Group I winner had been out of the winnerâ€™s stall for over 12-months with his trainer John Oâ€™Shea facing a constant battle against injuries.
Oâ€™Shea said the seven-year-old is as sound as heâ€™s been for a long time which was evident when he weaved his way through the field before strolling clear for an easy win under 60kgs.
â€œHeâ€™s a great horse, everything was against him today,â€ Oâ€™Shea said. â€œIâ€™m really emotional because heâ€™s been a great horse to me.This prep is the first time for two years thinks have been trouble free with him.
â€œYou get up every morning and go and check his legs and never know what youâ€™re going to find so this is fantastic.â€
Oâ€™Shea said Racing To Win will have his next start in the Group I George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in a fortnight before he decides what races the horse will target for the remainder of his preparation.
Winning jockey Hugh Bowman said Racing To Win has been a great horse for a long time but he was surprised the gelding sprinted as quickly as he did when the run came.
â€œHe surprised me the way he let down when we got out, it was the best turn of foot heâ€™s ever shown me,â€ Bowman said. â€œHeâ€™s a very special horse, a real gentleman. Heâ€™s basically the reason I came back early from England.â€
The favourite in an open market was the Chris Waller-trained Triple Honour who ambled up to the leaders inside the final 300 metres but he was no match first for the runner-up Rock Kingdom and then Racing To Win before finishing in third.
The placings and margins: Racing To Win (Hugh Bowman) 60kg ($6.50) defeated Rock Kingdom (Daniel Ganderton) 52kg ($5) by 1-3/4 lengths with a half length back to Triple Honour (Corey Brown) 54kg ($4.20) in third place.
Winnerâ€™s breeding â€“ Racing To Win is a seven-year-old gelding by Encosta De Lago out of Surrealist (Kennyâ€™s Best Pal).
The time and sectionals â€“ The field covered the 1400 metres in 1.22.18 with the last 600 run in 34.98 seconds.
What they said â€“ â€œI knew if I got out he was going to win but I really didnâ€™t expect him to win with the dominance that he did,â€ said Hugh Bowman, winning jockey.
â€œIâ€™d like to see the blinkers come off him because he pulled up when he got to the front. It didnâ€™t affect the result today but Iâ€™d hate it to in another race down the track. Heâ€™s on target for the Epsom,â€ said Daniel Ganderton, rider of the runner-up.
â€œI reckon we rode him too close to the speed. He had no finish. I cruised up at the 300m and hadnâ€™t moved a muscle,â€ said Corey Brown, rider of the third placegetter.
â€œHe had his chance,â€ said Kerrin McEvoy, rider of Mr Baritone (4th).
â€œHe went alright,â€ said Jim Cassidy, rider of Bryannboâ€™s Gift (5th).
â€œHe was disappointing. We had a good enough run for him to finish off,â€ said Jay Ford, rider of Mentality (10th).
The market â€“ The winner Racing To Win was backed in late from $7 to $6.50. The best backed runner in the race was Triple Honour who firmed from $4.80 to $4.20 while Rock Kingdom had support, firming from $6 to $5. The on-course market closed at 111 percent.
Image by Steve Hart