Powerful Sydney front-runner Howmuchdoyouloveme continued his love affair with Brisbane at Eagle Farm today, producing a grinding victory in the Group 3 WJ Healy Stakes (1200m).
The four-year-old is now unbeaten in four starts in the sunshine state, backing up his dominant win in the Lightning Handicap two weeks ago.
All the money came for the Tina Cotsiopoulos -trained gelding and he justified his short $2.70 starting price, hanging on for a narrow win from last year’s winner River Lad.
In-form rider Nash Rawiller took over from the suspended Brenton Avdulla and he was happy for Howmuchdoyouloveme to run his natural race, leading from start to finish and showing toughness to hold off his rivals in the dying stages.
Cotsiopoulos was confident the Written Tycoon gelding was at the top of his game for today’s hit-out and is now eyeing off next month’s Ramornie Handicap at Grafton, a race the sprinter won under former trainer Con Karakatsanis last year.
“He was on his toes, he’s done everything right since the Lightning…he’s a magnificent horse and he’s good to do anything with,” Cotsiopoulos said.
“We’ll wait and see how he pulls up and I’ll talk to the connections about the Ramornie.”
The win capped a big day for Rawiller who took out the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara with Red Tracer in the previous race and he praised the toughness of his mount in the finish.
“It was a magnificent effort the way he picked himself off the canvas in the last 50 metres,” Rawiller said.
“At the 150m mark he was in all sorts of trouble…he’d done a bit of work and they all made a run at him.”
Outsider Delago Bolt continued his consistent winter campaign to take third place. The James Lyons-trained gelding has now recorded top-three finishes in three starts this preparation.