Pat Webster saw enough signs on race morning to be confident stable star Thankgodyou’rehere was ready to stamp his Epsom claims with victory in Saturday’s Bill Ritchie Handicap at Rosehill.
“When we put him on the float this morning he had that real arrogance about him,” Webster said after Thankgodyou’rehere raced away with the 1400m Group Three event.
“He didn’t want to go on the float this morning, he was very naughty and that’s usually a good sign.
“He had that arrogance about him and that’s just him. He wanted to get on with the job.”
Thankgodyou’rehere ($2.25), aided by the inside barrier and a cool Rod Quinn ride, box-seated before racing clear in the straight to defeat Startsmeup ($3.70) by two lengths with another 2-3/4-lengths to Miss Keepsake ($31) in third.
Webster, who trains Thankgodyou’rehere in partnership with his son Wayne, said it was all systems go for the Group One Epsom Hcp (1600m) at Randwick on October 1 where Thankgodyou’rehere has 52kg.
The gelding’s victory in the Bill Ritchie earned a ballot exemption for the Epsom and he cannot be re-handicapped.
“He’ll go to the Epsom now, he’s earned it and he deserved that win today,” Webster said.
“The Bill Ritchie is a great race to win and the Epsom would be too. And you can’t win it sitting at home in your box.”
Thankgodyou’rehere hadn’t won since last year’s Group Three Hawkesbury Gold Cup but has been consistent at the top level through the Sydney autumn and Brisbane winter.
“He’s been ultra consistent and he’s just a good horse,” Webster said.
“We’re lucky to have him.”
Quinn took advantage of the good draw and had the favourite one back on the fence with Startsmeup the front runner.
The veteran hoop angled Thankgodyou’rehere off the back of Startsmeup rounding the turn and after looming up at the 300 metre mark the six-year-old strode to the front.
“He most probably had to win that race like that to justify going ahead (to Epsom) and he gets in with a light weight,” Quinn said.
While Tom’s Rocket ($4.40) failed to figure in the placings, trainer Joe Pride was happy with the return of Miss Keepsake.
“That’s as good a run as she’s put in for me,” Pride said.