Omineca scores for Wests Tigers star

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April 11, 2018 - 05:54 PM

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Sitting in the NRL top four with the Wests Tigers is hard to beat for co-captain Chris Lawrence, but being a winning racehorse owner is also a thrill.

Omineca, ridden by Hugh Bowman, ran down $3.10 favourite Semper Fidelis late to break his maiden in the Pluck@Vinery Handicap (1600m) to Lawrence's delight.

"I've had a few over the last five or six years. It's my first one with Chris Waller. A mate got me into him a couple of years ago after they bought him at the New Zealand sales," Lawrence said.

"They said be patient and we'll have a bit of joy so it's good to get a win."

The three-year-old was eight lengths off the leader at the 800m before surging to the line to beat Semper Fidelis by 1-3/4 lengths.

Savvy Ken ($3.60) was three-quarters of a length third in his first Sydney start for new trainer Clare Cunningham.

Waller's racing manager Charlie Duckworth was pleased Omineca made a liar of him.

"I was saying to the owners it's quite hard to win from last round Warwick Farm and he's made me look stupid," he said.

"They've been very patient with the horse. He's had his fair share of issues in the past.

"He wasn't the soundest horse but we've given him time to strengthen, mature and find his action. He's come here and won with plenty in hand."

Omineca had five trials before his first start last month, time well spent according to Lawrence.

"You learn you've got to be patient with them. I'm told he might be better over a bit more ground."

Lawrence hoped Omineca would rival the likes of Dark Eyes and Koroibete, who amassed prize money of $334,510 and $475,470 respectively.

"Dark Eyes won the Canberra Cup last year and Koroibete ran in the Randwick Guineas and Australian Derby (in 2014) so I've had a bit of luck," he said.

Duckworth thinks Omineca will quickly graduate from midweek grade and Bowman agrees after saluting for the first time since returning from a viral infection.

"If he can relax like that over a mile-and-a-half he might be a Queensland Derby proposition," Bowman said.