Jim Taylor is not a trainer who goes over the top with his emotions whether in victory or in defeat but there was a sense of satisfaction after his mare Magnifisio clung on for a courageous win in the Roma Cup at Belmont on Saturday.
The daughter of Magnus was facing the stiffest test of her career and had to do it from the widest gate in the crack field of 12, but passed the test with flying colours; albeit narrowly against the fast-finishing back markers.
Punters all week had marked the Group 3 feature as a race in two with Magnifisio and triple Group 1 champion Luckygray, resuming after a lengthy spell, battling it out for favouritism and the only two runners under double figures.
Magnifisio, who commenced the $2.25 elect, worked across for jockey Jason Brown to sit outside of pacesetter Settle Strada with the Trevor Andrews-trained Luckygray coiled up on the inside in third place and ready to pounce.
Brown dashed Magnifisio straight past Settle Strada upon straightening and set sail for home but with the post looming the backmarkers, including the fast-finishing Elite Belle, were rapidly closing in fast.
Brown and Magnifisio dug deep when it counted and held out Elite Belle to win by a head with Checkpoint a short-neck adrift in third place.
Right on their tails was Luckygray who was tightened for room and copped a bump over the final stages but fought on solidly for fourth.
Magnifisio took her record to 10 wins from 18 starts, including the past five in succession and three at the elite level, to close in on half-a-million dollars in prize money.
“It was a courageous win and she fought on well after having to do all the hard work from out wide,” said Taylor.
“Elite Belle had the soft run and I don’t think Luckygray was suited by the inside barrier and is better suited when ridden back.
“I think you might seem him reverse the result in the Belmont Sprint (1400m).”
Taylor said he was unsure if Magnifisio would contest the Belmont Sprint in a fortnight but is aiming her for the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) later in the year.
Ranger, first-up for Adam Durrant and Kalahaar, resuming since the Hannans in Kalgoorlie, both ran encouraging races when fifth and sixth respectively.
There were emotional scenes after the last when Willie White rode a pearler on Trading Day.
The Trade Fair gelding was formerly prepared by John Wilson Snr who passed away earlier in the week.
White and his brother, co-owner, Wes, paid heartfelt tribute to a man and horseman who had a large impact on their lives.
It was business as usual for Darren McAuliffe and his exciting juvenile, Rebel King, who cruised to a predictable but impressive win in the first.
The Universal Ruler gelding again just toyed with his opposition, cruising to the line four lengths clear to remained undefeated this preparation.
“I think he is pretty much bombproof and over his shin soreness,” said McAuliffe.
“It’s also pleasing to see him come out of the gates quickly.”
Go Tiger saluted for Fred Kersley who thinks the Tiger Hill gelding can develop into a handy stayer.
“He doesn’t possess a big sprint but is very honest,” Kersley said.
Gallopers under Paul Jordan’s care are generally renowned for their toughness and no horse better typified this than Chinetti.
The three-year-old, racing first up since February, went forward, was trapped wide and covered more territory than Burke and Wills, but kept giving in a top performance.
The Bletchley Park gelding was entitled to pack it in after a game run but let down impressive to score by over 1 ¼ lengths from favourite Arcadia Rose.
Donna Riordan said Long Over Due is aptly named after toughing it out for an all-the-way win over 1600m in race six.
The son of Due Sasso gave Riordan a much needed confidence boost and her first city win in over 15 months.
“I like the horse and I think he can go on with it,” she said.
Simon Foster was absent from Belmont but he had an impact nevertheless when Angel Wing won the Sky Racing Provincial Championship Final.
In a driving finish when only a length separated the first six runners and courtesy of a top ride from Glenn Smith, the mare claimed her third straight win.
Chris Parnham rode his first winner since resuming from a four month injury layoff when the Grant Williams-trained Celebrity Miss scorched home late.