Chris Waller-trained import Reliable Man announced himself as a Cox Plate contender with an upset win over three-year-old hotpot It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick today.
Having just his second start in Australia the former French galloper adopted a positive position just behind the hot pace set by Glass Harmonium.
As a bunched field entered the straight, the grey entire powerfully kicked clear to claim a convincing win from It’s A Dundeel who boxed on gamely for second.
Waller described Reliable Man as a “serious horse” and has spring ambitions despite a scare with the horse pulling up lame after passing the finishing post.
“This horse is a serious horse,” Waller said.
“He’s already done it in Europe and now he’s done it in Australia.
“The spring’s certainly the main thing. Hopefully it’s just a foot problem and not too serious a leg problem.”
Jockey Hugh Bowman said he noticed the son of Dalakhani wasn’t right immediately after he crossed the line.
“He was short [in his stride] so obviously we pulled him up quickly,” Bowman said.
“When he got into a trot he was clearly lame.
“It’s a shame because he’s obviously a quality animal and he’s shown what he is capable of here this afternoon.”
The experienced Sydney jockey said he “has no idea” what might be wrong with Reliable Man but is hopeful he can return to full fitness in time for the spring.
“I’ve got no idea…we’ll see what the vets have to say,” he said.
“He came to Australia as the highest rating horse to come from Europe.
“Hopefully there’s a bright report at the end of it.”
Popular Adelaide gelding Happy Trails bounced back from a 10th-place finish in the Doncaster to claim third-place honours.