Kiwi bred galloper Smokin’ Romans (NZ) (Ghibellines) cruised to victory in Saturday’s Listed Pakenham Cup (2500m) under a perfect ride from comeback jockey Jamie Kah.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained five-year-old provided Kah with her first win since August following her three-month ban for breaking COVID-19 protocols,
The star hoop had time to wave her whip to the crowd and drop her head in relief as she ran clear in the A$300,000 race aboard the favourite.
After being narrowly edged out when second in the Gr.3 Bendigo Cup (2400m), the tough stayer always travelled like the winner for Kah and had two lengths to spare from Good Idea (So You Think), with Team Captain (Galileo) another two lengths away.
“He is an absolute legend. He’s been in work over a year and he just keeps turning up. He loves his racing and he’s just getting better and better,” Eustace said.
“He’s a funny horse, he’s always had his quirks but he was really really good today, he got a lovely ride and he’s a favourite in the stable.”
The in-form stayer has had 14 starts this campaign for five wins and continues to bloom as he landed his first Cup race.
“He probably was a little bit stiff (Bendigo Cup) but it’s a big thrill today. Jamie did what she does, she got him into a beautiful rhythm and it’s great to have her back – she’s a star of the sport. It’s great to have owners here and Jamie back, this is great.”
Winning jockey Jamie Kah was thrilled to be back in the saddle and was winning for the second time aboard the gelding.
“It’s great, terrific to be back, it’s amazing, I’ve missed it greatly,” Kah said. “To come back and get a winner like that is very rewarding and I’m just happy to be back.
“This horse – so much credit to Ciaron and Dave, he’s been up so long and I’ve never seen him look so good. He was amazing out there today and made my job easy and I got the spoils for it.
“I knew I had a fit horse underneath me and knew if I wanted to go I could but I wanted to give him the easiest run I could early.
“He does it all himself, he could feel them coming and he just quickens up when they get to him. He’s push button, a really lovely stayer.”
Bred by Brian and Lorraine Anderton’s White Robe Lodge, the son of Ghibellines is out of the Anderton’s high-class staying mare Inferno (NZ) (Yamanin Vital), winner of ten races including the Gr.3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) twice.
Smokin’ Romans sports the colours of Kiwi owner Don Frampton, who has raced Group One winners such as Booming (NZ) (Don Eduardo) and Trounced (NZ) (Just A Dancer).
He secured a share in the gelding following his sale to now disqualified trainer Darren Weir for $52,500 during the Book 1 sale at Karaka in 2018.
“He was a horse I took a liking to when I first saw him at Karaka,” Frampton said.
“I was a little bit late getting down to the sale and seeing him go through the ring but I followed up afterwards with Darren Weir who had bought him.
“I spoke with Darren and it turned out he had bought him as a spec horse so I said to him to give me twenty-four hours and I would get a group together to race him.
“We ended up getting sixty-five percent for a bunch of my friends who are all Kiwis.
“When Darren got into trouble, he was moved to Ciaron and David and we retained our share in him.”
Smokin’ Romans’ win continues the good run of form for his sire Ghibellines, who is also the sire of recent Gr.2 Coupland’s Mile (1600m) winner Markus Aurelius (NZ).
From 18 starts, Smokin’ Romans has now won seven races and been placed on a further six occasions, and amassed A$531,415 in prizemoney.