After two half-head losses in successive Group 1 races, it was third time lucky for trainer Chris Waller at Royal Randwick.
Waller had been frustrated when Fiesta (Flight Stakes) and D’Argento (Epsom Handicap) were edged out but there was no denying Sydney’s premier trainer in the Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) when Patrick Erin and Brimham Rocks hit the line together.
In another gripping finish, there was only a short half head separating them but it was tough stayer Patrick Erin’s moment to shine.
Patrick Erin had won 11 of 22 starts in New Zealand but was unplaced in his first Australian runs since being transferred to Waller.
“I could just see him improving with each run,’’ Waller said. “He’s a tough horse.’’
Patrick Erin ($16) finished strongly to run down favourite Brimham Rocks ($4.60) right on the line with Sikandaraband ($26) a long head away third.
It was Waller’s third Metropolitan and his 88th major.
“I’m not sure where we will go next but we might look at something bigger,’’ he said.
“The St Leger here in two weeks is there and obviously you’ve got the cups in Melbourne.
“Two miles (3200m) is really going to suit him.’’
Patrick Erin firmed from $51 to $26 for the Caulfield Cup and $101 to $26 for the Melbourne Cup.
Waller paid tribute to jockey Corey Brown who wasted hard to ride Patrick Erin at 51kg.
Brown said he had intended to ride Patrick Erin a lot closer to the speed but the race didn’t work out as he had expected.
“Obviously I already have a Melbourne Cup ride but I would love to partner this horse all the way to the cup,’’ Brown said.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy gave Brimham Rocks every possible chance only to be denied right on the line.
“We slid forward from the barrier to just offset that wide gate then he got into a nice rhythm during the race,’’ McEvoy said.
“He travelled well throughout and I thought he was the winner until the last three strides – great effort by my horse.” – Ray Thomas, The Daily Telegraph.