The Chris Waller-trained import Danchai made a long awaited return to the winners’ circle in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) on Saturday.
Danchai had won twice in the United Kingdom prior to joining the Waller stable but remained winless on Australian soil from 12 starts, dating back to March 2014.
The son of Authorized displayed signs that he was racing back into form last start when finishing third behind Ecuador over 1800 metres at Rosehill.
He was then sent north for the Ipswich Cup and repaid the faith of connections with a determined victory.
Leading apprentice Luke Tarrant was handed the reins and gave the horse every conceivable hope of finishing off the race after travelling sweetly on the fence midfield.
As the field rounded the home turn, Tarrant went for a run on the inside and Danchai ($5.50 fav) responded, fighting off a fast-finishing Banco Mo ($13) to score by a head. Veteran campaigner Darci Be Good ($7.50) was a further three quarters of a length away in third.
Stable representative Liam Prior was relieved to see Danchai break through and credited the horse’s determination over the concluding stages of the 2150 metre journey.
“Hopefully he can take a bit of confidence out of that win and go on with it, he was very tough late,” Prior said.
“The challengers threw everything they had at him and he fought them off so it was a great effort and a great result for the owners.
“To Luke Tarrant’s credit, he rode him a treat.”
Last year’s Ipswich Cup runner-up Noisy Ocean ($13) finished 4-3/4 lengths away in third.