Race-hardened stayer Rialya fought back in the dying stages of the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (2150m) at Eagle Farm today to claim his first win in 15 months.
The five-year-old hadn’t seen the winner’s stall since the 2012 Adelaide Cup but was clearly at his best for today’s staying test.
With Joe Bowditch in the saddle, the Lloyd Kennewell-trained gelding held a prominent position in the straight before being headed by well-backed favourite Rothera at the 200m mark.
But when the favourite faded shortly after assuming the lead, Rialya rallied and powered through the line to score from a fast-finishing Shenzhou Steeds.
Kennewell’s father Lloyd was trackside to witness the drought-breaking win and was delighted at his return to form.
“It’s just great to come and win a nice Group race like that, it’s fantastic,” Kennewell said.
“When he came out at the 600m mark I thought here’s his opportunity to keep grinding and that’s exactly what he did.”
Kennewell mentioned the Perth Cup as a possible long-range target but said on the immediate agenda is the Listed Queensland Cup (3200m) at Eagle Farm on July 6.
“He’s definitely in form now and he won’t get a silly weight,” he said.
Bowditch admitted Rialya is not the easiest horse to ride but praised his effort to fight back after being overtaken in the straight.
“He’s a big strong horse and he can give you a hard time…but to his credit he dug in today,” Bowditch said.
Michael Moroney-trained gelding Shenzhou Steeds built a case to defend his title in next weekend’s Caloundra Cup with a promising return to form.