Almost two years after being placed in the Victoria Derby, Rawnaq has snapped an even longer absence from the winner’s circle at Caulfield.
The David Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained five-year-old had not won since his maiden at Wagga Wagga in June 2012 in a 14-start career restricted by injury.
Rawnaq finished third in the 2012 Group One Victoria Derby behind Fiveandahalfstar and Super Cool with jockey Michael Walker adamant he should have won.
Since then Rawnaq has spent more than a year out because of a bowed tendon and recently returned from another spell during which he underwent a wind operation and was gelded.
Rawnaq ($19) settled at the back of the field and then sprinted between runners to win Wednesday’s Racing.com Plate (2000m) by a long neck over Bring Back in his second start of the campaign.
“His two runs back since his wind operation and his gelding have been first class,” Hayes said.
Walker labelled the son of Redoute’s Choice out of Winning Belle his “favourite horse in the whole world”.
“He ran really well (first-up) at the Valley in a race that was unsuitable and he was a bit unlucky,” Walker said.
“I was confident he would win today.
“He’s probably the only horse David doesn’t give me instructions for. I’ve ridden this horse for most of his career.
“You’ve got to ride him dead quiet and it shows what he can do when you do that.”
Hayes said he would consider the Bendigo Cup for Rawnaq’s next start.