Toowoomba trainer Wayne Nugent proved his critics wrong when Poor Judge ended a run of outs at Eagle Farm.
Well supported from $26 in to $18, Poor Judge scored his first win for Nugent with a three-quarter length victory over Fillydelphia in Saturday’s Sita Australia Quality Handicap (1400m).
Nugent took over the training of Poor Judge from Norm Hilton in March but the six-year-old had failed to run a place in five previous starts before recording his 14th win from 35 starts.
Under Hilton, Poor Judge won last year’s Weetwood Handicap and later earned a Melbourne trip, finishing third in the Group One Toorak Handicap at Caulfield before claiming the Group Three Chatham Stakes on a heavy track at Flemington in October.
Nugent, a farrier by trade, was visibly feeling the emotions of Poor Judge’s win following his last of six on a heavy track at Eagle Farm last start.
“It’s been a real roller-coaster ride for me,” Nugent said.
“There’s been a lot of knockers out there and people have been telling me what I’ve been doing wrong.”
Nugent, who has only three horses in work, hopes to get the last laugh on his critics by sending Poor Judge back to Melbourne for the Group One Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington next month.
“There’s not much around for him here and if he pulls up well I’ll send him down to Melbourne for the Emirates on the last day of the Flemington carnival,” Nugent said.
Earlier, talented filly Snipzu cemented her place as an early favourite for the Magic Millions Classic in January with another commanding win in the BCD Technologies Handicap (1000m).
Snipzu, ridden by Glen Colless, followed up her seven-length win last week with a 3-1/2-length victory over Holey Gadoley.
Trainer Liam Birchley was in Sydney to saddle up Pepperwood and Seqsational at Rosehill and missed the win.
Stable foreman Brad Berwick rated her win as a better performance than her previous stroll.
“That was a much better performance than last time,” Berwick said.
“She’s got a few tricks but today she did everything right.
“Liam was going to spell her after last week’s win but she ate up so well and was bucking her brand off.”
Colless said Snipzu proved she was not one-dimensional and had the versatility to go all the way in the Magic Millions.
“She’s very versatile and has a good turn of foot which is needed for the Magic Millions,” Colless said.
“It was just a sit and steer job out there today and hopefully she’ll come back stronger after a spell.”