If there was one race keenly sought after by Chris Gangemi and his team it was the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m), Perth’s premier winter sprint.
At Ascot on Saturday they got their wish when the stables flagbearer, Rock Magic, a rising eight-year-old, proved too strong for his rivals.
Rock Magic had support at $5.10, starting the second elect, but the weight of public money was for boom three-year-old filly, Caipirinha.
The $3.60 favourite was out to claim a slice of Roma Cup history, by becoming just the second filly since Wildside to win the feature.
The Simon Miller-trained three-year-old took up the running as expected, but under the fiercest of pressure, she faded late to run seventh.
Rock Magic settled wide from his wide barrier, but had cover, with jockey, Jarrad Noske, having him poised in eighth position on straightening.
Rock Magic surged to the front with 50m remaining and shook off a gallant, Military Reign, who ran out of her skin to finish one length second.
Capping a sensational race for Gangemi was former Victorian galloper, Durendal, who filled third placing, a further 1 ¼ lengths behind.
It was a solid run by Durendal, but his fourth minor placing in a major Perth race since he transferred from co-trainers, Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra.
Rock Magic entered the Roma Cup first up without a trial after a Group One interstate campaign in Melbourne and Sydney.
He ran a slashing fourth in William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley and 14th in the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick when unsuited on a heavy track.
“I have been trying to win this race for a few years for dad, nonno and the whole family,” Gangemi said.
“I’m sure they will be very proud and it’s fitting for this horse to do it because he has been a champion for our stable.
“His form over the carnival was second to none and he was unlucky in Melbourne.
“He has always been a nice horse, but has got better as he has got older and he is not done with just yet.
“Both horses, Rock Magic and Durendal, will progress to the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) in a fortnight.”
Durendal, who settled fourth for jockey, Peter Knuckey, is bursting to break his Western Australian maiden status after an exasperating run of placings in major races.
The five-year-old was second in the Summer Scorcher (1000m), the Miss Andretti Stakes (1100m) and Scenic Blast Stakes (1200m) over the summer carnival.
“I’m very proud of Durendal too, who was ridden a treat,” Gangemi said.
“He was second up without a trial and will improve with the run.
“I’m very happy with both my horses.”