There was nothing new about Chris Waller dominating the finish of a feature race but the win by He’s Your Man in the Epsom Handicap did produce a first for star jockey Joao Moreira.
The globetrotting rider dubbed `The Magic Man’ for his remarkable talents finally notched the Australian Group One victory that had eluded him.
He’s Your Man was the horse that lured the Hong Kong-based Moreira to Randwick on Saturday and despite being out of luck in the first few hundred metres of the famous mile race, Moreira made his own at the finish.
He produced He’s Your Man halfway up the Randwick straight, chiming in down the outside and getting the stride in on the line to nose Royal Descent out of an historical Epsom win.
“That’s what I was here for, this horse,” Moreira said.
“This race means a lot to me. I have been chasing this Group One winner for so long and we got there.
“When I crossed the line I wasn’t sure if I won the race but at the end of the day it’s just so good to be the winner.”
It was the fourth time Royal Descent has run second in as many runs this campaign and an Epsom victory would have given her a modern-day weight carrying record for a mare.
But Waller remains bullish her moment will come.
“I feel for Royal Descent’s connections and for her but we won’t tell her she didn’t win,” Waller said.
“She’s a winner in my eyes and she’s going to get her chance in the Cox Plate. She had a big weight today and it’s a hard thing for a mare to carry and she almost got there.”
Plans are less clear for the winner who is nominated for the Cox Plate and the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
“He had a pretty torrid run early but gee he was strong all the way to the line,” Waller said.
The result was a coup for the premier trainer who had been aiming He’s Your Man towards the Metropolitan before changing tack to the shorter Epsom Handicap distance, a move he hoped would keep more spring options on the table.
Hooked toughed out the finish to hold on for third while Toydini was backed into $5 favouritism but was always well back and finished among the tailenders.