Breeder Mark Carusi pays tribute to Erwin Takacs after Le Romain win

All smiles: Glyn Schofield and Le Romain after winning at Randwick on Saturday. Photo: bradleyphotos老域名出售备案老域名It might have been almost 17 years since Mark Carusi had a city winner, but his immediate thoughts after his win on Saturday were with his horse’s former trainer, who died after a swimming pool accident almost 18 months ago.

Small-time breeder Carusi paid special tribute to former Kembla Grange horseman Erwin Takacs after Le Romain revelled in the heavy going to win in the first race at Randwick on Saturday.

Takacs died in 2014 from head injuries after a freak accident when he was trying to swim a horse at a Kembla pool.

Carusi knocked around with a young Kris Lees when his father Max Lees prepared Troon to win the Eskimo Prince Stakes in 1999.

“Kris is a good friend of mine and I wouldn’t give the horse to anyone else,” said Carusi, who bred the horse with his brother Anthony. “But when Erwin passed away it was hard.

“He helped me a lot. When I was in trouble and struggling, he was there. And before he was Kris Lees [the trainer], we used to knock around and drink together and this is now my first city winner in 17 years.”

The fact Le Romain was even at the races under the ownership of Carusi and a group of his mates was a small feat in itself, given he couldn’t attract a skerrick of interest in the Hard Spun gelding as a yearling. Then he only threw in a late nomination when the race was short on entries earlier in the week.

“I bought the mare [Mignard] off Darley and the first foal won a couple of trials, but broke her pelvis and we had to put her down,” Carusi said. “He was the third foal and I just couldn’t sell him.

“Inglis said he wasn’t a good enough type and I would have taken $40,000 for him. I couldn’t get anybody [interested]. I ended up keeping him and now I’m grateful.

“The biggest problem with him now is going to be the offers. I don’t want to sell him.”

Glyn Schofield angled for an inside run on Le Romain, which gunned down Deploy to win by three-quarters of a length with Stolen Time 2½ lengths further back in third. The $2.90 favourite Top Score never threatened and was safely held in fourth.

“He just didn’t handle the ground,” said Top Score’s rider Tommy Berry.

Which could hardly be said of Le Romain, which Lees predicted would win better races after a glowing report from Schofield.

“He’s a really nice horse and I’ve always had a good opinion of him,” Lees said. “I didn’t expect him to be a 1000-metre horse. But maybe the heavy conditions and slow early tempo meant he could track up nicely and he might make a nice horse this preparation.

“He’s just taken a bit of time to grow into himself as a big raw-boned fella.”

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