Tony Ward celebrated his first win as a trainer in Perth and judging by Ngawi’s impressive performance in the Seacorp Plate (1000m) at Ascot, it won’t be his last.
Ngawi, giving jockey Shaun O’Donnell a race to race double, sat off the speed and looked to be out of contention when she met interference in the straight.
But the Demerit filly recovered brilliantly, gaining an inside run and sprinting home powerfully to defeat the Simon Miller-trained Mouth Karate by a short-head.
She’s A Galah ran third in a tight finish.
Ngawi’s outstanding maiden win, at her second race start, is a welcome boost for New Zealand-born Ward after he recently branched out on his own as a trainer.
Ward has been based in Australia for nearly 12 years and with Miller, who he still maintains a working relationship with, for the past three and a half years.
Ward admitted he had given up on Ngawi breaking through after she had to be restrained early in the straight.
“I thought she was gone when she got flattened at the 200m,” Ward said.
“It’s brilliant and the body is just buzzing at the moment.
“The first time I galloped her I thought she actually goes alright.
“I thought she would go good with the pace on and she really found the line.”
Ngawi resumed after running a top fourth to Nocelle when on debut in the Crystal Slipper Stakes (1100m) last December.
O’Donnell, who picked up the ride from the injured Lee Newman, shared a riding double with Alan Kennedy and William Pike.
He praised Ward’s training milestone and Ngawi’s ability to overcome a difficult run.
“She didn’t get a lot of luck in the straight, but picked herself up,” O’Donnell said.
“I didn’t think she got there, but all credit to Tony in having her fit first up because she had a break after her first start.
Miller fought back later with a treble after wins to Caipirinha, Oliver’s Travels and Cruachan.
Caipirinha led all the way for Joe Azzopardi to win the Listed Miss Andretti Stakes (1100m).