It is doubtful whether there has been a more popular win for some time than Black Romeo’s in the Westspeed Nominations Handicap (1400m).
Perhaps that is an unusual thing to say about a galloper that eased in the market from $5.50 to $8.
In a barnstorming finish the Blackfriars grey charged home from second last on the turn to score by a long neck from Not A Single Drop with I See Luck,third.
Ridden by Mitchell Pateman the young apprentice returned to scale amidst spontaneous and loud applause from racegoers.
The reason for that was because Pateman’s father Michael, a trainer and former jockey, passed away on Thursday, after a long battle with cancer.
Pateman’s triumphant flourish with the whip, on the finishing line, aptly summed up the drama of family circumstances and as he dismounted many jockeys, owners and trainers moved to embrace the young rider.
Black Romeo’s trainer, Brett Pope, who did a good job speaking while surrounded by a sea of emotion, paid tribute to horse and rider.
“Mitchell has never ridden a bad race for me and his father would have been proud of him today” Pope said.
“I told Mitch to let him settle and just wait for the last 300m. He did that perfectly.”
“Black Romeo has been his own worst enemy and has tended to over race at times,” Pope said. Indeed-and the grey even did that at the 800m mark of this race.
The Pinjarra trainer considers his galloper may appreciate even more ground in the future.
Black Romeo has won five times from 20 starts, including at his last two starts.
Hoofnote: Stewards later reprimanded Mitchell Pateman under Rule 137(c) that deals with making a celebratory gesture in running. The rule is a safety measure and while Pateman could have been fined the Stipes clearly showed compassion given the circumstances.