A hometown victory in the Adelaide Cup will see trainer Lloyd Kennewell celebrate his biggest win after Rialya nosed out topweight Drunken Sailor at Morphettville today.
Rialya had been set for the Group 2 $400,000 Adelaide Casino Adelaide Cup (3200m) months ago and bounced back from a last start second in the Group 3 Boag’s Lord Reims Stakes (2600m) to outstay Drunken Sailor in a tight photo finish.
Damien Oliver had to manoeuvre Drunken Sailor into a one off position at the half way mark from the outside alley and made his move at the top of the straight to gain a clear break under 59.5kg.
But with a five and a half kilo pull in the weights Shayne Cahill was able to get Rialya to fight back and nab the top weight right on the line.
Adelaide trainer Kennewell has been confident all week that his four year old would give him his most important victory as a trainer today.
“We knew he was as tough as tungsten and we went through the race yesterday. The horse should have won last week but that is history,” Kennewell said.
“Shayne give him a beautiful ride and he was very strong at the end of it to ride 54kg for the first time in five years. He came through last week’s run super. He galloped on the grass Friday morning and run his last 400m in twenty-three and a half and it was the best work of his career.”
“I really thought we could win today, I’ve said it all week on the radio and in the papers. I never really had a threat with the two miles and I can’t really believe that he’s done this.”
Kennewell had given Rialya plenty work all week and said he had trained him like a Bart Cummings’ cup horse and pumped plenty of work into his legs.
Unlike Oliver on Drunken Sailor who had to find a spot midfield from the horror barrier, Cahill was able to slot Rialya straight into the box seat just behind the leaders and snuck up along the fence when Oliver let loose four and five wide on the home turn.
Drunken Sailor looked to have the Cup won at the 100m but under hard riding from Cahill, Rialya ($21) was able to nose out the $5 equal favourite with Mornington Cup winner Norsqui ($6.50) two lengths away in third spot.
The Peter Moody trained Hanks ($5 eq fav) was given every chance by Luke Nolen and battled on in the straight to finish in fifth spot.
Cahill had to diet hard all week to get down to the 54kg but was rewarded with a great ride to win.
“Its hard work but the rewards are there you know,” Cahill said.
“I was able to get off the fence at the right time and let him work into it at the right time. It was a bit of a stop and start race and when he was able to get off their tails and quicken it was beautiful.”
“ He switched off at the right time and when I asked him to start giving he did.”