Earlier this week, trainer Richard Litt and his major clients, Octavio and Wendy Galletta, had two horses running at Orange, bringing home just over $1000 prize money between them.
It is the sort of day that has been stock-standard for the trio and has helped to keep them level-headed as they prepare for what will be their most significant moment on a racetrack at Rosehill on Saturday.
The Litt-trained, Galletta-owned Castelvecchio will take his place among a star-studded field in the Group One Golden Rose (1400m) and while he is already an elite winner of the Champagne Stakes as a two-year-old, Saturday’s race holds even more magnitude.
Not only does it offer a $1 million purse, it all but shores up the stud career of any colt who wins.
The last seven horses on the race honour roll are all serving stallions, the past two standing for significant sums, The Autumn Sun at Arrowfield Stud for $77,000 and Trapeze Artist at Widden for $88,000.
In fact, the 16 editions of the race have been won by one filly, four geldings and 11 colts, the last group all forging stud careers.
If Castelvecchio wins, it will cap an incredible journey for Litt, who has been training for less than four years but has known the Gallettas since they raced horses with his father, former trainer Jim.
“We’ve had a small amount of success and a lot of fun,” Litt said.
“I took two of their horses to Orange on Monday and they ran only fair, and here we are heading to a Group One on Saturday.
“But we all work really well together, there’s no pressure from them.
“And they love those two horses who ran at Orange just as much as Castelvecchio.”
Castelvecchio will be reunited with regular jockey Josh Parr who had a prior commitment when the colt finished fourth first-up in the Dulcify Quality over 1500 metres.
It has been a slightly unorthodox preparation with six of his seven rivals coming through the Run To The Rose (1200m) but while there is a distance query over many of them, including favourite Bivouac, there is no such doubt about Castelvecchio.
“It’s worked out perfectly, having the drop back in distance I haven’t had to do too much with him, I’ve just kept him nice and fresh,” Litt said. “He’s ready.”
Litt is ready too.
Despite his youth and relative inexperience on the big stage – his rival Golden Rose trainers are Chris Waller, James and Anthony Cummings, Team Hawkes and Tulloch Lodge – Litt is taking the moment in his stride.
His only nod to nerves is a little bit of superstition.
Litt ensures Castelvecchio has the same race day routine each time he steps out, in particular his lucky bridle.
“I’m pretty superstitious. I don’t like to change too much and I won’t change the bridle,” Litt said.
“Everything stays the same with him, I have the same people going to the races with him all the time.
“But at the end of the day, if they can gallop, they can gallop.”
And that has perhaps been Litt’s biggest lesson in training Castelvecchio, to trust in his horse and in himself, be it a race at Orange or a Group One Golden Rose.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au