Tasmanian gelding Tshahitsi has capped a successful Melbourne preparation with a fighting victory in the Listed Winter Championship Series Final at Flemington.
The five-year-old gelding has been in Melbourne for his six starts this preparation and Saturday’s win in the $150,000 race was his third of the campaign after successes in the Echuca Cup and a Winter Championship Series heat at Flemington.
Imogen Miller, who trains in partnership with Chris Crook, was thrilled to watch Tshahitsi ($7) get the better of the 2015 winner Amovatio ($8) to win the 1600m race by a half-neck in a driving finish.
Favourite Sovereign Nation ($6), who made his run along the inside, was another short neck away third.
“It’s pretty exciting just being here today, let alone winning,” Miller said.
“He really toughed it out and it was exciting to watch.
“We’ve always had a big opinion of him but you kind of don’t expect him to kick goals like he has since he’s been here.
“We thought he would be competitive but he’s probably gone above and beyond what we anticipated when we came over.”
Miller said they had not made plans for Tshahitsi’s next step, or decided whether the gelding would be given his chance at more Melbourne races in the spring.
“We’ll just take it as it comes and have a think about it and go from there,” she said.
Tshahitsi has been staying at the Geelong stables of Glenn Thornton for his Melbourne campaign.
“I’ve been going back and forth and I’ve been really lucky to have Glenn Thornton and his team looking after him,” Miller said.
Tshahitsi had ear muffs and a tongue-tie added to his gear since his last-start third over 1400m at Flemington two weeks ago and jockey Brendan McCoull said it made a difference.
“The big thing about him today was he was stronger at the finish because he settled better through the run,” McCoull said.
“Ear muffs I think have done a terrific job to get him to settle and he did the rest.
“I think he’s probably up to a little bit better grade but I think we’re all over the moon with today.”