HIGH-profile racing identity John O’Neill shared the emotional win of Population with Western District owners, including Cudgee farmer Peter Wright and Camperdown’s Marie Wall, in an $80,000 open handicap at Caulfield on Saturday.
Population, ridden by promising apprentice Damien Thornton, gave the south-west owners, who also include Wall’s daughters Anna and Sarah and Camperdown businessman Rob Case, their first city success.
O’Neill was instrumental in putting the syndicate of owners together following the passing of Wright’s twin daughters Caroline and Olivia in a tragic car accident at Penshurst on November 12, 2011.
O’Neill oversaw the long-range plan in which Population defeated Dany The Fox by a head in Saturday’s 1400-metre race.
Population began its career under Anthony Freedman, was switched to Camperdown trainer Geoff Daffy and has returned to Freedman’s Flemington stable.
“To win a race in town with Population is a great result for everyone,” O’Neill said.
“When he won the Camperdown Cup last year it was an amazing day but to win one in town with this group of owners is very special.
“I must acknowledge the hard work which has been put in by Geoff Daffy and Neville Wilson in getting the horse ready when he was in Camperdown to win today’s race.”
Marie Wall described the win of Population as a team effort.
“The win is very special,” she said. “It’s been a team effort by a lot of people.
“Population went down to Camperdown to Geoff Daffy on a time-share basis.
“He won last year’s Camperdown Cup for Geoff which was great and today is his second run back for Anthony Freedman.
“Anthony told us the horse was in peak condition when it came back into his stable and that’s because of all the work which Geoff Daffy, Neville Wilson and Charlie Piggot had put into him,” she said.