A WARRNAMBOOL hobby trainer with just two horses in work celebrated his first city winner in oppressive heat at Caulfield yesterday.
Chris Ryan, a former sprinter who was third in the 1986 Stawell Gift, was in a buoyant mood after six-year-old Red Fella held up best in temperatures around 40 degrees to win the $35,000 Salt and Pepper Plate (2430m).
Ryan, who trains his horses on the beach, has been patient with Red Fella, which broke down with tendon problems as a three-year-old and had managed just eight starts, including two provincial wins, in his three years as a racehorse.
"This is his second campaign and he has improved significantly," said Ryan, a property valuer who has been training for 17 years.
"He is lightly raced and hopefully he can race for several more years."
The gelding's mother Princess Pushy won the group 2 Herbert Power Handicap (2400m) at Caulfield in 1991, which backed up Ryan's claim that Red Fella can stay all day.
"He can stay and has got a good a turn of foot," he said,
Winning jockey Glen Boss said Red Fella would take a good level of fitness out of the race due to the trying conditions.
Red Fella ($4.20 fav) contested the finish with Callmedan ($14) and managed to pull away from the duel to win by three-quarters of a length with Ali Vital ($7.50) the same margin away in third.
Meanwhile, impressive Caulfield debutant Top Sight is destined for bigger and better things following her win in the $35,000 Jacob Park Thoroughbreds Plate (1000m) yesterday, according to her trainer Ciaron Maher.
Top Sight, ridden by Michelle Payne, was squeezed out after the start of the 1000-metre race for two-year-old fillies.
But she came home with a strong run to defeat Sakitto by more than a length, with Cautious in third place.
Maher said Top Sight, the daughter of Bon Hoffa which won the group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in 2007, had lots of upside.
"She's done an excellent job,'' Maher said.
''I thought she would have led that's how she has gone on her two jump outs.
''She has shown a lot of speed in the jump outs.
"I must admit I was a bit worried when she was out the back after being beat for early speed following the squeeze.
"She was green in the run and will derive plenty of benefit from that outing. She hit the line well.
"I'm confident she'll get over a bit more ground.
''I'm not sure where I will run her next."
Top Sight is the first runner Maher has trained for Melbourne racehorse syndicator Ken King Thoroughbreds.
"It's wonderful to get a winner for Ken and his fellow owners," he said.
"Ken's got three horses in the stable and there is the chance that we might get another one or two in the future.
"Ken bred this filly which is a great result for him.
''It's just great to get a winner for someone who is so passionate about their racing."
Top Sight was well backed with the bookmakers.
She was rated a $14 chance when betting started but firmed into an $11 hope. WITH AAP