Spiritual Warrior has delivered jockey Lucy Warwick and her father and trainer Justin Warwick their first win in the Iron Jack-Kalgoorlie Cup (2200m) at Kalgoorlie this afternoon.
The Blackfriars gelding worked his way to the front and then held off a game First Affair to score the biggest win of his career.
It wasn’t without drama for the $3.50 TABtouch favourite though, who was slow away from barrier one and Warwick nearly came out of the saddle.
Favourite punters then had their hearts in their mouths again past the winning post on the first occasion as Warwick appeared to clip heels with fellow fancy Dark Prospect.
Warwick then followed Dark Prospect around the outside on leaving the home straight and worked her way to the front on the five-year-old.
The young hoop said Spiritual Warrior’s poor start was due to spending the longest time of the 10 horses in the barrier, having come into barrier one with Booma Lacka’s scratching and added the gelding pulled his way.
“Being in barrier one with Booma Lacka out, we were just in there too long,” she said.
“He was just feeling really good and he’s missed it.
“He was just in a whole lot of froth and bubble trying to just stay up.
“We then got off, not meaning to, but that’s where I needed to be.
“As soon as he got to the front, he settled beautifully, all he needed was his rider to co-operate.”
It was a fourth straight win for Spiritual Warrior, who started his career in a Kalgoorlie maiden in July 2018.
He has since gone on to put together a record of eight wins from 26 starts.
For Justin Warwick, he said he was surprised his tough stayer not only had risen through the classes as quickly as he could, but had now taken out a Listed feature.
“I did have my doubts,” he said.
“After we bought him, I would’ve given him back a few times and we didn’t get along too well.
“He’s slowly gotten better and better.”
Spiritual Warrior will continue on to the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) on January 4.
Darwin Cup winner Ihtsahymn battled on gamely to run third.
Meanwhile, WA stayer Come Play With Me has headlined a dominant day for prolific trainer New South Wales, taking out the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick.
Former trainer Adam Durrant sent Come Play With Me to Waller following his win in July’s Swan River Vase at Belmont.
Durrant, together with his parents, bred and still own Come Play With Me.
Jockey Brenton Avdulla lifted the Blackfriars five-year-old over the closing stages to hold off a fast-finishing Gallic Chieftain.
The win opens the door for Come Play With Me to head to the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, but Durrant told The Races WA he would leave the decision making up to Waller.
“I said to Chris ‘he’s no superstar’,” he said.
“They targeted this race, they said the Metrop is the race for him if we’re good enough.
“That’s the way it’s panned out, it’s unbelievable.
“He’s done his job…I don’t think he needs to prove anything for now.”
“Maybe he could come back for the autumn, maybe for the Australian Cup.”