Up until Saturday, Religify (6g Choisir x Sacred Witness, by El Moxie) had won 10 races and over $600,000 in prizemoney, but amazingly had never won a stakes race, an anomaly that was rectified at the Gold Coast with a determined victory in the Listed Prime Ministers Cup.
The Chris Waller trained six year-old rarely runs a bad race and was sent out favourite for this 1400 metre contest with champion jockey Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
He hit the line hard at the finish to nail Siegfried and win by a neck taking his overall record to 11 wins and seven placings from 26 starts with prizemoney now just shy of $700,000.
A $135,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Coolmore draft for Star Thoroughbreds, Religify runs in the colours of Star Thoroughbreds client Kathryn Wood, whose Titan Syndicate owns the horse outright.
Religify is the best of three winners for Sacred Witness, a sister-in-blood to Hong Kong sprint superstar Silent Witness from the family of Group II winners Sister Madly and Empress Rock.
Religify brought up the second leg of a stakes double for Choisir at the Gold Coast as he tasted earlier success when Taking Aim (2c Choisir x Girl Hussler, by Hussonet) won the Group III Ken Russell Memorial Classic.
A maiden going into the race, the Peter and Paul Snowden trained colt emerged a winner, producing a tenacious effort in the run to the line to win the 1200 metre dash by a head.
Taking Aim had placed at his first three starts in good company before finishing down the track in the Group I MRC Blue Diamond Stakes and this was his first run since then.
Taking Aim will be set for the Group II BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm on May 27 and the Group I JJ Atkins (1600m) on June 10.
Paul Snowden feels Taking Aim is now a much more mature horse than when he failed in the Blue Diamond and believes he will improve enormously from the Gold Coast win.
“This was the run he needed today to get him back on track,” Snowden said.
“He pulled the whole way, he had one fall back in his lap about the 700m and when you have a horse that is a little bit aggressive and that happens it makes them go harder.
“He needed this to blow a bit of wind out of him, he will relax a lot better over further and you will see a much more relaxed and better horse next time.”
A $520,000 Inglis Easter purchase from the Segenhoe Stud draft for China Horse Club/ WinStar Farm, Taking Aim was bred by Segenhoe and is from stakes-winning Hussonet mare Girl Hussler, a grand-daughter of former brilliant sprinting filly Clever Zoe.