‘Magic Man’ Joao Moreira produced another masterclass in a Sydney feature when scoring a last-stride win aboard Militarize (NZ) in the $1 million, Group 1, Kia Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Back ‘in town’ to renew his partnership with a colt on which he’d already landed two Group 1 victories as an autumn 2-year-old, Moreira once again displayed his unique talent when securing a clear passage late in the straight to win a hugely competitive renewal of the Golden Rose in a humdinger of a finish.
Run at a genuine pace with Snapback leading the way, the closing stages witnessed a handful of the 12-runner field looking capable of landing the first major 3-year-old Group 1 event of each season. And none more so than Encap, the Gary Portelli-trained gelding hitting the lead as the field raced into the final furlong.
However, just when it seemed that Encap had done enough to hold off all challengers, Militarize (NZ) flew to the line — once seeing clear daylight — to post the third elite level win of his burgeoning career.
Encap held on for second ahead of a wall of horses which included race favourite Cylinder in third, Butch Cassidy in fourth, the Melbourne filly Charm Stone in fifth, and Moravia in sixth.
First-up since winning the Golden Slipper when last in work, Shinzo got well back in the field from an outsider barrier and failed to threatened in the straight after covering plenty of ground around the home turn. The valuable colt ultimately finished ninth — yet crossed the line just over two-and-a-half lengths adrift of the winner.
The Magic Man and Militarize (NZ) arrive late to land the Golden Rose; picture sportpix.com.au
The win of Militarize (NZ) was another major training triumph for Chris Waller who produced the Sires’ Produce and Champagne Stakes winner forward enough to claim the Golden Rose first-up. The son of Dundeel (NZ) is now a prominent stallion prospect with three of the most coveted races of the 2- and 3-year-old divisions already on his CV.
“If he hadn’t done enough already, he certainly has today,” remarked Waller after the win. “It was a classic Golden Rose; good field. I guess we had a nice, favourable draw, confident jockey and I always thought the 1400m would be a bit short. We chose to put the blinkers on which I don’t like doing too early in a horse’s career, but it might’ve just got us home.
“Everything worked out well. A bit of traffic in the straight, but he’s an amazing jockey.”
Waller confirmed that the Caulfield Guineas was most definitely on the brilliant colt’s schedule, and wasn’t dismissing the chance of Militarize (NZ) running in the W.S. Cox Plate.
“We certainly will be talking about a Guineas for sure — that looks a nice race for him in terms of a traditional set-up. I don’t think there’ll be any differing along the way.
“Who knows [about the Cox Plate]? Dreams happen on a race course, that’s for sure. One step, get through today. Second step, Guineas. Third step, get through the Guineas.”
The brilliant Joao Moreira suggested that he got the breaks when it mattered and that his winning partner was doing all of his best work at the finish.
“I couldn’t feel any better, he’s such a great horse for myself,” stated Moreira. “Every time I’ve sat on him he hasn’t let me down. Today he had to make it tough considering that he didn’t have everything go his way today.
“To be honest I wasn’t that confident I would be able to win as we approached the last 300m. I had a wall of horses right in front of me, I just couldn’t get the split right away. That forced me to be in behind horses but I found myself behind the right horse [Cylinder] that will take me forward.
“The last bit, when I was able to get him into the clear … he just dashed home like a star. Good horses make jockeys’ lives so much easier.”
SPs on the Golden Rose were $6.50 Militarize (NZ), $15.00 Encap, and $4.20 favourite Cyilnder.
Winning time on the Good 4 was 1m22.24s (last 600min 34.40s), while the official margins were Long Head x Short ½ Head.
The Golden Rose, photo finish picture ATC
What the beaten jockeys reported:
Ryan Moore (Shinzo): No comment
Nash Rawiller (Cylinder): “I thought he ran great. The way I jumped I thought I would have been able to find a spot one off. But they kicked up inside me and I didn’t really get the spot I wanted.”
Jason Collett (King Colorado): “He has run well. Just probably found that a bit sharp at 1400m on the good deck. Wants further on softer ground.”
Tim Clark (Don Corleone): “He ran honestly and was not beaten far.”
Tyler Schiller (Moravia): “Unlucky runner of the race. No luck but hopefully next time.”
Dylan Gibbons (Encap): “I’m not allowed to swear am I. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. He’s gone enormous. Shame to get beaten that close.”
Ryan Maloney (Butch Cassidy): “Very honest again. Barrier played a pivotal role there. If he gets the breaks I don’t see he couldn’t go a few better.”
Zac Lloyd (Nadal): “I thought he acquitted himself well. I think he might be better suited to a fast 1200m. I think the 14(00) might see him out.”
Sam Clipperton (Snapback): “He ran a creditable race from the front. Gave a kick but got a bit tired late.”
Kerrin McEvoy (General Salute): “He hung left again. He might be looking for the cut out.”
Damian Lane (Charm Stone): “She ran really well. She just dwelt at the start a touch. Got a bit hot mid-race and held up at a crucial stage. She is a young horse who is going to improve out of the run.”