Durendal ended an exasperating drought when he broke through for his feature win in WA in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) at Ascot today.
The former Victorian sprinter, placed in 12 WA feature races, vindicated trainer Chris Gangemi’s faith in him when he claimed his first win in 1051 days.
Ridden by Shaun McGruddy, Durendal ($7) settled outside of the leader Belter ($6) and proved too strong for that galloper late to score by half a length.
Scales Of Justice ($4.60) ran third, beaten two lengths, ahead of the $2.50 favourite, Dainty Tess.
Durendal will tackle the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) on December 1 for the second time, after running third to Viddora last year.
Gangemi, who also won the Colonel Reeves with Rock Magic in 2015, was ecstatic after Durendal’s breakthrough win.
“Big relief and I couldn’t be happier for the horse,” Gangemi said.
“Obviously everyone makes fun of him but he tries his heart out every start.
“He’s just a little horse that either carries big weights or he’s at weight-for-age and it’s hard to beat the good ones.
“We thought all prep he’d come back better than ever.
“Obviously he’s one of the leading WA chances (in the Winterbottom) now but it’s going to be hard with all the eastern staters coming. He’ll probably run top four or five like he always does.”
Durendal’s eighth career win was his first in WA and boosted his prize money to $808,500.