Trainer Trevor Andrews is no stranger to Roma Cup (1200m) success, posting his third win in the Group 3 winter feature at Belmont Park yesterday.
His trifecta came courtesy of champion gelding, Luckygray, who marked his return to racing with a hard-fought long-head victory over Dawn Approach.
Luckygray was forced to miss the Ascot summer carnival because of a leg injury, but dispelled any fitness concerns with a powerful performance
After four months of work and two trial hit outs including a win over 1000m on Monday, Andrews had Luckygray primed for his first up assault.
“He is a superstar horse who is so genuine,” said Andrews.
“It’s gratifying to get him back at this level, let alone winning.
“He is a rare horse who oozes class and it was an ideal comeback.
“He just peaked on his run but should derive fitness.
“The next two races should be to his liking.”
Luckygray, who won the Roma Cup in 2010 when under the guidance of Gino Poletti, will target the upcoming Belmont Sprint (1400m) and Hyperion Stakes (1600m).
Andrews won his first Roma Cup with Modem in 2004 before No Questions etched his name on the honour roll three years later.
Jockey Shaun O’Donnell, who had Luckygray ideally placed in fourth position and one off the fence, lavished praise on his mount.
“I have ridden a lot of good horses but there will never be another one like this for me,” said O’Donnell.
“He showed what he was made of.”
Dawn Approach ran a bold race after sitting camped behind leader Modello and lost no admirers in defeat.
Fuchsia Bandana was desperately unlucky in finishing third with jockey, Ben Kennedy, angling for a clear run.
Zester ran another cheeky race for fourth, a length clear of Shining Knight who ran on fairly from the tail of the field.