It had been nearly a year to the day since the now Archie Alexander-trained Amorino won his last race, but he proved he still had it in him thanks to a lovely ride by Craig Williams in the TAB Rewards Stakes 2015 at Flemington on Australian Guineas Day.
Snitzel five-year-old Amorino hadn’t won a race since the Listed Grandstand Cup (1500m) during a sting in Perth last year, the victory taking place on March 22.
Just shy of 12 months later, the now Ballarat-based galloper shone in the $150,000 Group 3 TAB Rewards Stakes (1400m) in a come-from-behind win.
“Great,” Williams said explaining the win.
“It was nearly a day to the year that he won his last race.
“Credit to the trainer…he really got to know this horse.
“He gave me really good confidence going in.
“It was nice to get this old boy over, a really nice handicap race win.”
Best out of the barriers was the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Hard Stride, the 59kg top weight bursting out of gate one to take up the front running as the four-year-old sought back-to-back wins following a 1200m win at the track on February 21.
Amorino meanwhile was at the tail end of the field while Hard Stride set a fast galloper racing keenly out in front with three lengths between him and Gracious Prospect by the 1000m mark.
Hard Stride was pulled back at the 800m but still up front with the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Tale Of The Cat four-year-old Gracious Prospect chasing.
On the straight Amorino came down the outside while the Lionel Cohen-trained Aeronautical, who was also out to break a lengthy winning drought, was making up ground along the rails after missing the kick by a length and a half.
After the patient ride from Williams, Amorino ($11) had more in the tank to finish the fight and got up by a neck over six-year-old Aeronautical ($9.50) who was brave in defeat.
It was a photo for third between frontrunner Hard Stride, eventually found to have run fourth, and Gracious Prospect ($4) who had a lovely run throughout but couldn’t quicken to finish the trifecta.
Amorino has now won eight of his 29 career starts, today’s $90,000 for first taking his winnings up over the $600,000 mark.
There was a minor problem pre-race for the winner who had a slight head knock before being passed fit by the stewards ahead of his slick win in 1:22.05.
“Very minor,” Alexander said of the pre-race scrape on the head.
“I thought he’d run really well. He was showing all the right signs at home and was very fresh.
“It was just a great ride by Craig who took his time.
“He’s a bit of a timid horse likes to come out wide so he’s just done it perfectly.”
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2015 TAB Rewards Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Flemington Race 4 – 07/03/2015
|1||5||AMORINO||Archie Alexander||Craig Williams||–||4||56kg||$10|
|2||2||AERONAUTICAL||Lionel Cohen||Douglas Whyte||0.4L||2||57.5kg||$10|
|3||7||GRACIOUS PROSPECT||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||1.9L||6||54kg||$4|
|4||1||HARD STRIDE||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damian Lane||2L||1||59kg||$4.60|
|5||3||AKAVOROUN||Ciaron Maher||Ms Michelle Payne||5L||3||57.5kg||$2.50F|
|6||6||TOUGHER THAN EVER (NZ)||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||8L||5||54.5kg||$20|
|–||8||HARARE||Pat Carey||Chad Schofield||–||0||–||–|
|–||4||DECIRCLES||Danny O’Brien||Ben Melham||–||0||–||–|