A top ride from gun jockey Brad Rawiller was a driving force behind Valour Road winning the Group 3 Hyperion Stakes at Belmont today.
Rawiller had Valour Road box seating in third and got him off the fence when the five-year-old let down powerfully over the final 50m to overhaul stablemate Dance Music.
Giving trainer Simon Miller a one-two finish in the $200,000 feature race, Valour Road defeated Dance Music by a head with another half-length to Money Matters.
Favourite The Velvet King ran fifth after bombing the start.
Valour Road, a winner of the Karrakatta Plate as a two-year-old, answered a stamina test by winning at his first 1600m attempt.
The Frost Giant gelding, a $60,000 Magic Millions yearling, improved his record to eight wins from 25 starts for $1.1 million in prizemoney.
Valour Road gave Rawiller another feature race since moving to Perth and validates his decision to move west.
Last year, in just his second week riding in Western Australia after relocating from Melbourne, he claimed his 25th Group 1 winner with Elite Street in the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
“We were very confident the stable and Simon (Miller) is a great trainer,” Rawiller said.
“When we drew a good barrier, I was cheering.
“He really deserved the win, he got the roll of the dice with the run.
“His last 20 metres was outstanding and he really powered to the line.”
Rawiller said after answering a distance query, the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) later in the year at Ascot is worth considering.
“Why not the Railway,” Rawiller said.
“This field, even though it’s in the winter, it’s a top-class race and he’s been the best horse in it.”
Miller’s Hyperion Stakes quinella ended his day on a high after top three-year-old Panzdown went down by a long head to Nerodio in a thrilling conclusion to the Byron Bay Premium Lager Handicap (1000m).
Miller heaped praise on Rawiller and said the jockey’s advice to remove the blinkers after the Roma Cup paved the way for Valour Road’s victory.
“I definitely think the blinkers coming off was a huge factor for him,” Miller said.
“Hats off to Brad (Rawiller), he said pull them off and see how we go.”