Brendon McCoull rides Tshahitsi (outside) to victory at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)
The $150,000 Listed Winter Championship Final was the banner event at Flemington on Saturday and it could not have found a more appropriate winner.
Tenacious Tasmanian gelding Tshahitsi provided training partners Chris Cook and Imogen Miller with their biggest win in Melbourne when he continued his stellar run of form in the 1600-metre event.
The son of Clangalang made it three wins from his past four starts, the other victories coming in the Echuca Cup and a Winter Championship qualifier at Flemington, to leave Miller shaking her head.
“It’s pretty exciting just being here today, let alone winning,” she said.
“We’ve always had a big opinion of him, but you don’t expect them to kick goals like he has since he’s been here.
“We thought he’d be competitive, but he’s gone above and beyond what we anticipated when we came over.”
Tshahitsi took his career record to 11 wins from 24 starts, with four minor placings and just under $350,000 in stakes, with a trademark performance.
Despite sitting sit three-wide without cover in a race over a distance he had not won, Tshahitsi ($7) found under the urgings of jockey Brendon McCoull to score by a half-neck from Amovatio ($8), who finished a short neck in advance of well-backed favourite Sovereign Nation ($7.50 to $6).
“He makes his own luck,” McCoull said. “He rolls along up on the pace and he was too good for them, so he deserves the win.
“Damien (Oliver, Amovatio’s rider) said to me pulling up, ‘I couldn’t pick you up’. But that’s what he does, he just grits it out. He sticks his head out, all he wants to do is find the line. He’s a terrific racehorse.”