Winning owner Rosario La Spina wasn’t as confident as others when his horse Regulus held the lead with 200m to run in the Group 1 Redcliffe Yearling Sale Series Final on Friday night.
However, both he and the horse’s backers were duly rewarded when the Christian Cullen gelding held on to win the $100,000 feature for two-year-olds.
Although La Spina and his large contingent of family and friends celebrated joyously after the race, he admitted there were some nervous moments.
Regulus, trained and driven by Rickie Alchin, was forced to sit wide for much of the 1780m race before eventually settling in the death seat at the bell.
Alchin let Regulus loose with about 400m to run, and grabbed a big enough break to hold off a challenge from the fast-finishing Ark Me.
“Having been in this game a long time we’ve been nutted on the post many a times,” La Spina told Puntersland’s Jason Bonnington.
“They made him work… It was a super drive in the end. It was just a great thrill but it was a long last 200m.”
Regulus came to Redcliffe via the Bathurst Gold Crown Series where he failed to fire a shot. He then ran third in the QBRED Breeders Crown, before blowing his rivals away in last week’s heats.
An $18,000 purchase at the 2017 Redcliffe Sale, Regulus has now netted La Spina almost $80,000 in stakes and QBRED bonuses, plus, a shot at the QBRED Triad Series later in the winter carnival.
“It’s quite a thrill. You go into these series’ and you win a race like this,” he said.
“You don’t need lots and lots of money to do it … it’s just a great thrill. I would recommend it to anybody.”
Alchin said although the gelding was forced to face the breeze, he remained confident throughout.
“Once he got to the death he felt really good and he held on. I’m proud of him,” Alchin said post-race.
“He went to Bathurst and was probably a little disappointing but nobody really knew how far he’d come in a short period of time … so a quick freshen up and here we are!"
By Alex Nolan - Image: Toby Coutts/Michael McInally Photography