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Top Sydney trainer Chris Waller almost walked away from Canterbury Park’s Wednesday meeting without a win but a last-stride victory in the Cal Rei Handicap (1250m) by Romantic Time has left Waller grinning.
The win was made that much more special since it’s the first he’s delivered for Romantic Time’s owner Sir Patrick Hogan, who he has long admired for his success at the Cambridge Stud.
“When I was younger and starting in the game I would look up to people like Sir Patrick and hope to think one day I could train a winner for them,” he said to TVN directly after the race.
“It has been a while coming but this is the first horse that I have trained for him outright.
“Sir Patick said to me when he sent her over to try and win a two-year-old race with her and if not, send her back to New Zealand.
“She is now three and still with us and he reminded me about that recently when I saw him.
“She just need a bit of time to mature and I still think she will continue to grow and mature.”
Romantic Time made just her third career start in the benchmark 67 race after running third in two maiden races. It looked as though she’d miss out once again but she managed to surge late after being held in a pocket to change the race’s result and win less than a shoulder ahead of Savoureux and Berry Delicious in second and third place respectively.
Blake Shinn partnered the filly for the first time in the race and while he wasn’t confident in the run itself, he was impressed by her ability to win against the odds.
“Coming to the turn I thought I was doing the right thing following Hugh Bowman (Trois Choix) but he took me nowhere,” Shinn said.
“I had to come out and right around the outside of the field, she did a really good job to get there on the line.”
Romantic Time will go to the spelling paddock for a short break before being prepared for stakes races for the first time during the autumn, particularly the Group 3 P.J. Bell Stakes (1200m) or Group 3 James H.B. Carr Stakes (1400m) at the tail end of the autumn racing carnival.
“Given her pedigree, she becomes a lot more valuable if we can get her a stakes race,” Waller said.
“Without getting too far ahead of ourselves I think something like the PJ Bell or James H.B Carr Stakes at the back end of the carnival could be ideal.”
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