Valour Road has confirmed that class tells at weight-for-age when resurrecting his career in the LR Idyllic Prince Stakes (1300m) at Belmont on Saturday.
Resuming after 15 months on the sidelines, the Yarradale Stud-bred graduate scored an emotional win for his owners and trainer Simon Miller after they were about to put him out to pasture last season.
“I wasn’t happy with his action leading up to last year’s summer carnival so we gave him time to get it right,” Miller said following a heart-warming victory (Photo / Western Racepix) over the heavily-supported favourite Nerodio (Playing God) and in-form sprinter Phanta (Gingerbread Man).
“He’s galloping so smoothly now and I thought he would just come here and win at weight-for-age. He had done enough work at home and he delivered. What a marvel.”
Valour Road (8g Frost Giant – Melba Avenue by Street Sense) has won 10 of his 33 starts for earnings over $1.5 million. Miller indicated he will go out for another break and return for The Gold Rush (1400m) at Ascot in December which carries another $1.5 million in prizemoney.
Bred and sold by Yarradale Stud for $60,000 at the 2017 Perth Magic Millions, he races for a large Des Carvell-managed syndicate that includes Yarradale’s Lyn Sayers. His sire Frost Giant (Giant’s Causeway) shuttled to Yarradale from North America for two southern seasons and his Jack & Bob Ingham-bred second-dam La Melba (Grand Lodge) had arrived at Yarradale in 2010.
It’s no wonder Miller calls Valour Road a marvel. He has won at black-type level in every season he’s raced starting with the 2018 Magic Millions 2YO Classic at Pinjarra and G2 Karrakatta Plate at Ascot.
He crossed the Nullabor as a 3yo to win the G2 Euclase Stakes at Morphettville and returned as a 4yo to claim the LR Miss Andretti Stakes at Ascot. He then doubled up at Group 3 level as a 5yo winning the Prince Of Wales at Ascot and Hyperion Stakes at Belmont.
Back in harness as a 6yo at Ascot, he was placed in the LR Birthday Stakes, G3 Northerly Stakes and G2 Lee-Steere Stakes before a popular win at weight-for-age in the LR A J Scahill Stakes (1400m).
“I’m so proud of him,” Miller said after the Scahill. “He won the Magic Millions and Karrakatta Plate in his first two starts and was backing up after a hard run in the (G1) Railway. The race mapped out when he was in a rhythm in the running line. He was going alright and I knew he was a chance even though the leaders were a fair way in front on the corner.”
Sent for a well-deserved spell, he resumed in May but was unplaced in the G3 Roma Cup (1200m) and G3 Belmont Sprint (1400m).
“His action was rough leading into last year’s carnival,” Miller recalled. “I didn’t want him racing if he wasn’t up to it. He was all set up to be retired but the owners were brilliant and said do whatever you have to do.”
That meant missing his entire 7yo season ahead of Saturday’s return as a new-season 8yo. “The long lay-off made all the difference,” Miller said. “He’s getting around like a 2yo again and his zest for racing is remarkable.”