He missed the Stradbroke Handicap victory due to weight but jockey Chris O’Brien finally got his Group One win aboard Sincero in a thrilling George Main Stakes at Rosehill.
The pair had to do it the tough way, posted wide from the outside draw and outsprinted by eventual runner-up Ilovethiscity when the field straightened for home.
But four-year-old Sincero refused to give in and rallied to gain the upperhand over Ilovethiscity in the final stages, taking out Saturday’s feature by a neck.
For O’Brien, who has been riding for 25 years, the thrill of winning a Group One was still sinking in.
“Relief, finally,” O’Brien said of his feelings when he won.
“It’s been a long wait.
“I missed a couple (of Group One wins) through injury and it’s nice to finally get one.
“He was a bit flat there when they sprinted but when the other one (Ilovethiscity) went past me and put a neck on him he pinned his ears back and said ‘let’s get into it’. He loves a fight.”
Sincero won the Stradbroke carrying 50.5kg with Jason Taylor aboard.
Trainer Stephen Farley rated Sincero’s George Main (1500m) success as one of his best for the simple reason he had to overcome a troubled run to win.
He admitted he thought Ilovethiscity had the race in his keeping when he hit the front halfway up the straight and praised Sincero’s heart.
“He’s nearly getting to freak status,” Farley said.
“They just don’t win 11 from 15. He just knows how to win.”
Farley was also glowing in his assessment of O’Brien who he said remained calm despite the race not going to plan.
“Chris doesn’t panic and he just loves this horse,” Farley said.
“Nothing went to the game plan and I’d said to him, ‘if you’re stuck out there just relax, don’t panic’ and he did relax.
“I thought we were going to run a nice second but he just doesn’t give up this horse.”
Sincero is now outright favourite for the Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 1 and is also among the more fancied runners for next month’s Cox Plate in Melbourne.
Grahame Begg, trainer of Ilovethiscity, said his charge was beaten by a top horse.
“He ran well, he probably got flushed out a bit earlier than I would have liked,” Begg said.
“It’s no disgrace being beaten by that horse.”
Chris Waller was also happy to see a return to form by Triple Elegance who was three-quarters of a length away third.
“Much better, he’s back on track,” Waller said.
All three George Main placegetters are likely to clash again in the Epsom.