Sirius Suspect winning at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)
Flemington trainer Saab Hasan ensured Saturday's winter meeting at Headquarters was anything but mundane in the moments following his first metropolitan win for the season.
In the wake of the impressive straight-track victory of Sirius Suspect, Hasan offered up stories of financial hardship, ill-luck and ultimately of redemption.
He even squeezed in a little Hollywood, somehow managing to compare the troubles he experienced with his most recent winner to those once suffered by Phar Lap.
Starting the $4.60 favourite, Sirius Suspect showed blistering speed to outrun his rivals over the 1200-metre trip of the Event Staff Handicap and his trainer was pretty quick on his feet also as he was inundated with well-wishers, which included well-known syndicator and part-owner Darren Dance.
Hasan was keen to point out Dance's contribution to the victory as Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock was the only syndicator willing to help out Hasan when he fell upon hard times.
"You talk to syndicators and owners and you say 'How come you don't give me a go'? and they say 'You've only had one good horse (Shoreham)' and it's hard to get another good horse if they don't give you an opportunity," Hasan said.
"So, I approached Darren Dance as things were really bad financially and we weren't going anywhere. Darren said he'd send me a horse or two and they really helped me out.
"It's been really tough for us. It's been a bit of a battle and a struggle to survive here and to stay in front."
Hasan said his recent troubles had worsened as his partner Zoe, who is 20 weeks pregnant, was ill and was unable to make it to the races.
Hasan said he had thought about giving up his career in the face of the financial hardship facing trainers these days.
"My partner and I even spoke about this last week and she said 'Why do you do it'?
"I just said there are plenty of other things I can do but I feel that I still owe these horses my devotion and my attention.
"It's like I was given a gift to look after these animals and it's hard to give away."
Not all went to script for Sirius Suspect in the lead-up to Saturday's race.
"He cracked a hoof last Friday and he hasn't had a gallop, so it was probably a bigger win than it looked," Hasan explained.
"He carried 60 kilos and hasn't had a gallop for eight days and we've just trained him really soft this week so for him to explode like that was a real good win.
"He's a beautiful horse to train. He's got the best will to win. He reminds me a little bit of Shoreham. He tries hard.
"When he had a crack in his foot last Friday I was shattered. Going into this race, the horse's welfare is number one and the horse didn't give me one reason to scratch him.
"I said to the owners you've seen the movie Phar Lap where they trained him virtually running on foot, well that's what I've done. So, he's got a mighty big heart, I said."
Joining in on the celebrations was jockey Brad Rawiller, who was more than happy to ride a winner for Hasan.
"Since I've been back from injury, he was basically the first one wanting to give me a ride and get me back to where I had previously been so this gives me a bit thrill getting a winner down the straight for him," Rawiller said.
Rawiller said he knew the horse would be hard to beat after getting aboard him.
"He was so relaxed going down (to the stalls) which is massive for him to save energy for the race because he can get a bit worked up and he's a real racehorse," he added.
"All the credit goes to Saab Hasan. He's done a great job with this horse. He looks a million dollars and he's actually really strong and well within himself."