THERE are few who know the Wellington track better than Greg Ryan and on Sunday the champion jockey combined with trainer Pat Farrell to win the duo's third Wellington Boot.
Ryan's victorious ride in the $100,000 feature race was a popular one with the Wellington track being the place where he learnt his trade while many in attendance were pleased for Farrell, who has been battling some health issues in recent times.
The horse this time round was Alliterate, the half sister to last year's winner Alart, and when she found a bit of room at the top of the straight she powered forward and went on to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
"Things went really well to plan and full credit to Pat," Ryan said in the post-race interviews.
"He won the race here a year ago with Alart and she (Alart) had shin sores about a month out and I said should we find another ride and Pat said if she got a ride she'd win.
"This horse has been barred and thrown riders and had all sorts of problems and I was saying to Pat I don't know if she'll win the Boot she hasn't done enough right but he said she'll be right and she was so full credit to him and he's been right two years in a row."
A delighted co-owner Steve Watts was also in attendance.
"Knowing Greg was on him certainly because he just rides this track so well," he said.
"...the horse was going well and is really promising so I was always thinking if it opened up we were in business and that's how it worked out."
Vixen Lass ($15) began the best in the 1400m journey while Alliterate ($7) was a bit off the pace after jumping from barrier seven in the nine-horse race.
Vixen Lass held the lead while two of the favourites Rather Sweet ($4) and Spright ($3.20 favourite) worked themselves into good positions.
Sugarparma ($5) soon threatened but when she moved wide at the top of the straight it opened up space for Alliterate and Ryan didn't need any more invitation than that.
With 200m to go it was all but over while Spright hung on for second ahead of Sugarparma and Watts said the win would be a huge boost for Farrell.
"It's wonderful for him, he's been very unwell but he's on the mend and is better than he was two weeks ago and I'm thinking he's probably better than he was ten minutes ago," he laughed, before speaking about what's next for the Boot winner.
"I didn't expect her to win that well but Pat will have a sit down and figure it out and wherever she goes she'll competitive because there was a couple of handy horses in that."