Darren Weir admits he was concerned Australian racing might never bring out the obvious potential in Tosen Stardom.
But the Japanese import showed his true colours with a explosive late surge to claim victory in the Group One Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
“I was worried we wouldn’t see the best of him but we have today. That was the real Tosen Stardom,” Weir said.
Ridden by Damian Lane, Tosen Stardom ($6.50) scored by 1-1/2 lengths from Happy Clappy ($8) with It’s Somewhat ($18) a short-neck away third.
The race was delayed as Rosehill Guineas winner Gingernuts needed veterinary attention after completing his parade before the start of the 2000m race.
Jockey Michael Dee said Gingernuts was cantering down to the barriers when he felt something go amiss with the gelding.
“I definitely felt it happen so straight away I pulled him up and got off as quickly as I could,” Dee said.
“It’s very unfortunate for the connections and not very nice to happen to the horse.”
Gingernuts was taken to the University of Melbourne Veterinary Clinic in Werribee for further assessment.
For Weir and his stable a lot of hard work has gone into resurrecting the career of Tosen Stardom who was expected to figure prominently during last year’s spring carnival.
The campaign was aborted after one run – a fourth in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
Weir had planned an Epsom Handicap assault but after arriving in Sydney those plans were also cut short.
“We ran him at Moonee Valley and he ran great and put him on the float to go to Sydney and he cut his leg,” Weir said.
“Everything that could go wrong with the horse went wrong.
“They were never serious problems, it wasn’t a knee, a fetlock or a tendon or gone in the wind, they were niggling problems.”
This spring has almost been the perfect campaign for Tosen Stardom who picked up the Group One Toorak Handicap at Caulfield last month.
Weir said it was the consistency of getting races into the horse that was the key in Tosen Stardom returning to winning form.
“Racing him fortnight, fortnight, fortnight and being able to back-up after a softish run last week held him in great shape for today,” he said.
Weir said Tosen Stardom would now go for a break, suggesting the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in the autumn would be a suitable race.
Lane said Tosen Stardom would have been a good thing beaten if he didn’t get out inside the final 200m.
“I had one run close on me, it really stopped my momentum and to switch across heels and still win was just massive,” he said.