But in the weeks leading up to the race even Alexander doubted whether the horse would be good enough to repeat the effort, admitting midway through last week that Kiwia wasn’t going as well as he was in 2018.
But on race day his plans all came together and Kiwia, unbeaten at the track in two previous starts, made use of his home ground advantage.
“He was bouncing. He knew what it was about and I don’t know why he peaks on this day but for whatever reason he was flying,” Alexander said.
For Alexander, the London-born trainer who has set up home in Ballarat, it was recognition of his talents with stayers and patience with Kiwia.
“Everyone can talk the talk but you need winners, so to land a big winner on a big day when we have aimed this horse at this race … this isn’t an afterthought. This is has been the plan,” Alexander said.
Central to the plan’s success was Allen’s ride as he sat comfortably in running before gradually picking up the pace after being left slightly flat footed at the 600-metre mark. Kiwia accelerated to the front and was happy the race was reduced from 2200 metres to 2000 this year as he reached the post just ahead of the fast finishing runner-up Double You Tee.
That Allen was riding Kiwia was a stroke of luck too as he was committed to ride pre-race favourite Harbour Views however, the second emergency was withdrawn from the race on Friday after the connections decided to send the talented four-year-old for a spell.
He was rapt Kiwia owners were happy to wait and see as he knew the horse’s ability despite him not winning a race between each Ballarat Cup.
“He has always been a horse that has had a bit of promise and when things go his way he is hard to beat in these types of races,” Allen said.
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.