Corowa galloper Front Page has finally shown the world what he is capable of, winning the $2 million The Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Trained by Geoff Duryea and ridden by Young product Tyler Schiller, Front Page started a $5.50 second favourite in the world’s richest country-only race.
The six-year-old led from pillar to post in the 1200m event, holding off the David McColm-trained Far Too Easy (James Orman, $4.60f), while in third was the Brett Cavanough-trained Fender (Sam Clipperton, $19).
Duryea and connections have had no luck with the talented albeit injury prone gelding, having been forced to scratch in 2020 and 2021 after gaining a start on both occasions, but Duryea said the stars aligned in the lead-up to Saturday’s race.
“Third time lucky,” Duryea said
“He’s been very, very unlucky. The first time was just a freak accident and the second time, there was nothing we could do about it, but he has done the right things this time and he had the perfect preparation.
“He’s had two barrier trials at Wangaratta and won them both and I couldn’t ask for anymore.
“He worked up to the morning and pulled up from his barrier trial a week or so ago and he wouldn’t have blown a candle out, so I knew there was no way fitness was going to beat him.”
There were some nervous moments, with Front Page kicking away on the home straight, but he was game to the finish line, holding off the fast-finishing pair of Far Too Easy and Fender.
“I’ve seen him do it before. They can get to him, but they’ve got to get past him, and he has a pretty big ticker,” Duryea said.
Front Page was one of three Southern Districts gallopers in the final, and Duryea believes there will be a lot of punters happy with the win.
“They will be celebrating in Corowa,” Duryea said.
“It’s not an overly big town, and only six or seven thousand, and most people know each other.
“The boys all go up to the pub and have their bets and watch their races and they’ll be pretty happy.”
Jockey Tyler Schiller upstaged some of the best jockeys in Australia with his winning ride but he admitted there were some nervous moments.
“I didn’t actually want to lead and when he just took me to the front under his own terms, I was just happy to go with the horse,” Schiller said.
“I know how much ability he has and when he gave a kick at the top of the straight, I actually thought he was pretty vulnerable, but he’s toughed it out super and he’s a ripping horse.”
Schiller has enjoyed a storied career to date, progressing from the Southern Districts to Sydney, having won the 2021/22 Sydney’s apprenticeship premiership, but he believes his win in The Kosciuszko on Front Page is right up there as one of the biggest moments in his career.
“I’d say that’s one of my biggest thrills as well, same as the Town Plate at Wagga. When the horse won first-up off a big break, he’s just got so much improvement and I wish he wasn’t riddled with issues. But to see him win today makes it all worthwhile,” Schiller said.
“I’m more excited for Geoff and the owners. He’s a super horse and he’s had so many troubles, but he just keeps overcoming them. Today he’s shown how good he is.”
Readers can click here for full results and replays of the 2022 The Kosciuszko.