Gunga Din added to a bumper year for Canberra trainer Keith Dryden with a Highway Handicap win.
Canberra gelding Gunga Din has relished a hot tempo to street his Highway Handicap rivals and pull off another training coup for veteran horseman Keith Dryden.
With Acquittal overdoing things in front, Nash Rawiller settled Gunga Din ($3.90 fav) midfield and the four-year-old quickly gathered in his rivals on straightening to score a runaway four-length win.
Rostam ($18) did best of the chasers to grab second with another half length to Just In The Clear ($14).
Dryden did not make the trip to Rosehill but Louis Mihalyka, syndicate manager for Laurel Oak Bloodstock, said the victory by Gunga Din was the icing on the cake after winning The Kosciuszko in the spring with Handle The Truth.
“Fantastic. It has been a great year and that has capped it off,” Mihalyka said.
“When the pace was on we knew that would suit us.
“We were drawn a bit wide but Nash was patient and it worked out brilliantly.
“The plan was today so we will see what happens now.”
Connections of Acquittal announced their intentions to go forward before the race but did not anticipate the gelding being so keen.
When questioned about the pace set by the leader, Jason Collett said the horse would not settle and despite trying to change his hold, Acquittal refused to come back underneath him.
“It was just charging the whole way,” Collett said.
“I began well enough, gave him a bit of a squeeze and we worked our way across but once he had the lead outright he was just too keen.”
Acquittal, who was in the market at $7, compounded in the straight and finished among the tailenders.