Beltoro wins at Flemington under Jack Hill (Image: Racing Photos/Natasha Morello)
Jack Hill has ridden his first city winner in more than four years after he partnered the unbeaten Beltoro to an impressive win at Flemington on Saturday.
The popular 30-year-old’s last victory in the metropolitan area came at a Sandown midweeker in November, 2016 and he said later he was lucky trainer Rob Hickmott decided to test the Toronado gelding at headquarters.
"I guess it’s hard to find a good horse and stay on him," Hill said. "Rob and the connections have been great for me. Normally when they come to town. I get replaced which is understandable, but to stay on one and win the race, is even better."
Hill said he was confident he would be in the finish on the $11 chance, who finished powerfully down the middle of the track to score.
"Since his first win (Bendigo in November) his trackwork has improved," he said.
"He seems much happier and I actually said to Rob when he was in at Sandown (Wednesday) I wasn’t happy as he had the big weight and he had to claim, but he found a race here at Flemington that looked ideal for him and he said that’s where we’ll go.
"I was pretty happy that Rob chose that way and thanks to Rob and the owners for that support."
After settling back in the field, Beltoro unleashed a big sprint to overhaul the leaders and win by twio lengths over Field Of Roses with Montepulciano close-up in third place.
Hickmott said he got a double thrill out of Beltoro’s performance.
"It was a lovely patient ride by Jack there and I’m very happy for him," Hickmott said.
"He doesn’t get too many opportunities in town. He’s got the ability, he just needs a few more opportunities.
"He rides work for Mick Price at Caulfield and he’s always there for us."
Beltoro easily handled the rise to 1400 metres at just his second start and being out of a Zabeel mare (Believabeel), Hickmott said he expects the horse to handle longer trips as he matures.
"He’s reminding me more of Zabeel everytime I look at him as he shapes up," Hickmott said.