An emotional Chris Waller struggled to find the words to describe Rangirangdoo after the gelding staved off Love Conquers All to win the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill.
The leading trainer had three runners in Saturday’s 1500m Group One race with Rangirangdoo the least likely after spending most of the 12 months since his Doncaster victory sidelined by injury.
Danleigh, the defending title holder, started the $5 favourite with Triple Elegance at $9 while Rangirangdoo was a $15 chance.
But it was the six-year-old who prevailed with Corey Brown weaving a passage through runners to push Rangirangdoo up to Love Conquers All.
The pair settled down to fight it out and it was Rangirangdoo who prevailed on the line by a half-head.
“He is a very good horse, a class horse, it’s just so great to see him back,” Waller said.
“He had a serious suspensory ligament injury but we’ve had him in work for about six months on and off.
“Just recently he turned the corner, he put in two brilliant gallops on Friday and Monday but I still thought he was a run short.
“I’m just so thrilled, he’s like a best mate, it’s very special.”
Triple Elegance ran a half-neck third to cement his claims as a genuine Doncaster contender while Danleigh was ninth, three lengths from the winner.
“Danleigh and Triple Elegance will go to the Doncaster but I’m not sure about Rangi,” Waller said.
“I think it might be too hard with 57 kilos.
“We could look at the All-Aged, that might be a better option.
Love Conquers All’s owner Nick Moraitis was having a bad day after Maluckyday finished seventh in the BMW but was philosophical.
“He had a little bit of bad luck,” he said.
“While we had to come from barrier 13 the winner had barrier one.
“Having said that Chris Munce rode a fantastic race.
Jim Cassidy, who has committed to ride Triple Elegance at 51 kilograms in the Doncaster (1600m) in two weeks, was thrilled.
“It’s taken two proven weight-for-age horses to beat him so he’s on target for the big one,” Cassidy said.
Star mare More Joyous tightened from $2.30 to $2.25 for the Doncaster after her brilliant win in the Queen Of The Turf while Triple Elegance moved to equal $8 second favouritism with Ryder fourth placegetter Aloha.
Veteran Theseo finished 12th in the Ryder and Gai Waterhouse announced his retirement immediately after the race.