Patience is a virtue Tony Devcich has in spades and the Cambridge-based horseman’s approach was handsomely rewarded at Pukekohe Park.
He only has two horses in work and his lightly raced six-year-olds Singing Sun and Pow Wow came up trumps on Saturday with their respective victories in the Barfoot & Thompson Handicap (1200m) and the Mount Shop Handicap (1600m).
A former international polo player who rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, Devcich also had the added satisfaction of breeding, owning and training the pair.
“It was a lucky day and it’s hard to win races. They’re the only two I’m working, it costs so much and it’s hard getting work riders as well,” he said.
“I nearly gave it away a few months ago, but I’m glad I didn’t. I was hopeful they would go well as they had both gone good races previously.”
Singing Sun is a prime example of Devcich’s patience and devotion as the Burgundy gelding has now won two of his three starts.
“Every time I got him up and ready to trial he would go shin sore so I’d turn him out again rather than keep going. It’s the only way to do it,” he said.
The long wait with Singing Sun proved worthwhile when he led all the way to win on debut on the synthetic track at Cambridge in February and last month finished fourth at Pukekohe after again making the running.
“I thought he may have gone to the front again, but Sam (Spratt) got him settled in behind them and came on late so it was great,” Devcich said.
Singing Sun is out of the winning Desert Sun mare Sing In The Sun, who also ran fourth in the Gr.1 Wellington Cup (3200m) for Devcich, and her unraced half-sister Generous Red is the dam of Pow Wow.
Also ridden by Spratt, the son of Power has had to overcome back issues to further his record.
“He had kissing spine and Chad Ormsby told me to get (horse chiropractor) Tommy Burns to look at him and he cured it,” he said.
Pow Wow was allowed to stride to the front on Saturday and forged clear in the run home to score by three lengths for a memorable stable double.
Devcich, whose nephew Phillip trained El Soldado to win the 2016 Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) at three-figure odds, has been around horses from an early age.
“When I was seven I got put on a horse and told pull that rein to go right and the other to go left and off I went,” he said.
“I’ve got six brothers and we also used to play polo with short sticks on our bikes and I guess that’s why I went into polo later on.
“I had ability and used to go pretty hard and fast and I went to play in America with Kenny Browne and then to England.”
Devcich rubbed shoulders with royalty and millionaires during his polo playing days.
“I ended up on the same team, the Maple Leafs, as Prince Charles every time I went to England,” he said.
Devcich also supplemented his income back then by educating and trading polo horses.
“That’s where I got my money and I sold a few to Kerry Packer when he was playing. It was all good fun,” he said.