Imported galloper He’s Your Man worked home strongly to score a narrow win over Royal Descent in the 2014 Epsom Handicap at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
He’s Your Man was caught wide in the early stages of the Epsom Handicap, while Royal Descent was settled just behind the leader, but jockey Joao Moreira was eventually able to settle He’s Your Man one off the fence.
Royal Descent responded well when asked for an extra effort by jockey Hugh Bowman and looked as though she had the race won at the 150 metre mark, but He’s Your Man threw himself at the line late to score his maiden Group 1 win by the narrowest of margins.
The owners of He’s Your Man and the Chris Waller stable were responsible for bringing Moreira to Australia to ride in the Super Saturday meeting at Royal Randwick this afternoon and the leading hoop was thrilled to record his maiden win at Group 1 level in Australia in the Epsom Handicap.
“He is a lovely horse and it was such great people to invite me to get here especially for this horse and we have done, the feeling couldn’t be any better,” Moreira said after the race.
“It is really, really special, I have chased a Group 1 win in Australia for probably four or five years and finally we have got there so that means a lot to me.”
Trainer Chris Waller was forced to make a difficult decision after He’s Your Man won the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) in impressive fashion at Rosehill Gardens on September 13 and was clearly delighted that his decision to run the Cape Cross gelding in the Epsom Handicap and not the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) had paid dividends.
The leading Sydney trainer was quick to pay credit to the ride of Moreira and was also delighted with the typically brave performance of Royal Descent in the Epsom Handicap.
“We got it right today and both horses ran very well,” Waller said.
“I have always maintained that you have to use the jockeys that are in form and there were some great jockeys to choose from, but for whatever reason we chose Joao.
“I like the fact that he had been in Australia before and ridden a few times, not with a lot of luck, but he had that experience and the Sydney racing scene is tough.
“The Randwick mile has been very good to me.
“She (Royal Descent) deserves to win one and hopefully it is the Cox Plate.”
He’s Your Man has shown plenty of versatility during his racing career in Australia, winning over 1500 metres, 1600 metres and 2000 metres, and Waller said that he has plenty of options with the five-year-old during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but said that the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) looms as the most likely option for the imported galloper.
“The Mackinnon springs to mind,” Waller said.
“It is four weeks between runs and we have spaced his runs successfully in the past.
“Sure it is a weight-for-age and last year we went to the Moonga with Boban and then won the Emirates, so there are plenty of options.”
Waller joins Gai Waterhouse and Lee Freedman as the only trainers that have won the Epsom Handicap in back-to-back years in the past 30 years.