Kim Waugh’s patience with Oxford Poet has been rewarded, with the gelding delivering a Winter Stakes win at Rosehill to ease the disappointment of his previous start.
The equal favourite in the Civic Stakes two weeks ago, Oxford Poet finished fifth in a performance his trainer admitted did not live up to her expectations.
But she said he had improved and she went to Rosehill on Saturday confident Oxford Poet could turn things around against similar opposition.
“I was really disappointed last time,” Waugh said.
“He had been three weeks between runs and might have been a bit fresh.
“But I knew he was spot-on for today and I came here thinking he could win.”
With Tim Clark letting him roll to the front, Oxford Poet ($7) maintained his rhythm over the 1400m and held off Zin Zan Eddie ($21) by a neck, with Civic Stakes winner Ninth Legion ($7.50) another half length third.
Better Not Blue, second to Ninth Legion a fortnight ago, was the $4.60 favourite but finished last of the 10 runners.
Waugh said Oxford Poet would return to Rosehill in two weeks for the $150,000 Winter Challenge over 1500m.
“I think he will handle the distance,” she said.
“The way he settled for Tim today, he should have no problem.
“He just likes to roll along and be able to do it his way and it’s great to see him get a stakes win. He really deserves it.”
Although he is a rising six-year-old, Oxford Poet’s career has been restricted to 22 starts because of hoof problems.
“He has had navicular disease, which means he wears shoes that look like gumboots when he’s at home,” she said.
“We put proper shoes on him for race day.”
Zin Zan Eddie trainer Matthew Smith was buoyed by an improved performance from the gelding, which finished last in a 1200m sprint at Randwick on June 25.
“We will probably come back for the Winter Challenge now,” he said.
“I was mortified after Randwick. He went so badly so it’s good to see him improve.”
Fellow trainer Peter Robl was satisfied with Ninth Legion, which carried a top weight of 60kg.
“I think carrying that much on a wetter track than last time just told on him,” he said.