It’s a safe bet to suggest Justin Warwick now reserves a good deal of affection for his staying talent Spiritual Warrior.

But that wasn’t always the case with the Blackfriars gelding finding time to hit his straps with the Myalup trainer.

It was an indifferent start for the now five-year-old who commenced his racing career in Kalgoorlie before linking up with Warwick in 2019.

It took Spiritual Warrior 12 starts before he saluted for Warwick, but since that victory over Mr Alby at Belmont he has flourished.

In the last six months he has captured three of his biggest races with listed staying victories in the city and provincial circuits.

He won the Kalgoorlie Cup (2200m) in October, the A.T.A Stakes (2200m) at Ascot last December and Bunbury’s The Bull And Bush Cup (2200m) on Sunday.

After a rocky beginning, Warwick and Spiritual Warrior are finally savoring a fruitful and successful relationship.

“I brought him from Kalgoorlie 18-months ago and I paid a lot of money for the horse, he was forty grand,” Warwick told Tabradio.

“He was pretty ordinary when we got him and pretty disgraceful actually.

“He had me beat and he had Lucy beat, she hopped off him and didn’t want to ride him.

“I couldn’t seem to get the picture on how to get him to go.

“I would have given him back a few times, actually I would have given him back a lot of times.

“We slowly worked things out, but there were some trying times.

“I was scared to take him to races some times.

“I don’t think anyone would have thought where we have ended up now.

“He has taken his stakes to half a million and has a bright future.”

Spiritual Warrior, with Warwick’s daughter Lucy handling the reins, carried the 59kg top weight to defeat Superior Smile in the Bull And Bush Cup.

Warwick said winning with big weights was a sign of a good horse.

“You don’t see many horses winning those Listed races with big weights,” Warwick said.

“That’s always a pretty good sign for a horse going forward.”

Warwick said the Pinjarra Cup (2300m) on April 5 and the West Australian Cup (3200m) at Ascot a fortnight later are target races for Spiritual Warrior.

Julio Santarelli