A bittersweet day for trainer Simon Miller ended on a positive note when Roman Knows pulled off a huge betting plunge to salute in the Kingy Classic Handicap (1400m) at Ascot.
Miller was shattered after his star three-year-old Portonian suffered his first defeat in the BBB, LBB and BBB Handicap (1100m).
Unbeaten from his first two starts, Portonian went down on his nose at the start. He seemed to recover well but was in trouble early in the straight after being sent forward by jockey Paul Harvey.
Portonian, the raging $1.24 favourite, faded to finish third, beaten ¾ of a length, to Dueton.He pulled up lame and is now in doubt for the $100,000 Magic Millions 3YO Trophy (1400m) in a fortnight.
“I still want to take him to the Magic Millions but he’s pulled up lame,” Miller said.
“I’m not sure now. I’ll know for sure on Monday.”
Harvey was examined by the club doctor after the race and was stood down from the rest of the meeting because of illness.
Roman Knows helped Miller bounce back when he notched a hat-trick of victories.
Punters launched into Roman Knows, backing him from $4.20 to $2.50 before he eased to his starting price of $2.60.
The four-year-old had a sweet run just behind the speed and skipped clear after hitting the lead 200m out to beat Born To Excel ($5) by ¾ of a length.
Kalahaar, who started equal favourite with Roman Knows, got too far back in running when he stormed home to finish third.
Miller was supremely confident Roman Knows could handle a rise in class to score.
“His work at home’s been off the charts and today reflected how he’s been at home,” Miller said.
“The funny thing with him is he goes better against the better horses because there is a more genuine tempo.
“He still tugs pretty hard but against the better horses with a genuine tempo, it suits him.
“From here we’ll just keep stepping him up and keep him to the 1400.”
Pin Rouge and Barnsley Lad will be aimed at the Bunbury carnival in March after impressive victories.
Pin Rouge stamped his claims for the $100,000 Bunbury Stakes (1400m) with another all-the-way triumph in the Baz Is 50 Handicap (1600m).Barnsley Lad is bound for the Bunbury Cup (2200m) after his top win in the Felkong Handicap (1600m).