Three years ago almost to the day, Litt had his first winner at the Braidwood non-TAB meeting. Ironically, they were racing again at Braidwood on Saturday. Most races there carried just $9000 in stakes.
Litt walked off his home track and down the road to the Inglis Classic sale $116,000 richer himself.
It was a little reminder why an industry which gives itself black eye after black eye can still have that eye-opening feelgood story. The tale of Weir makes most in the bubble weary and those outside it wary, but then on the next day it grabs you again.
Litt’s learned from some of the best, having worked for Bart Cummings, John O’Shea and his father Jim. In between bouncing around the racing industry, he once worked as a clerk of the course for the Australian Turf Club.
One horse he used to chaperone at the races was Malavio, perhaps the best horse Galletta has owned. They got talking and talked some more when Litt started training on his own. Galletta knew enough of the young man to plough most of his horses into the stable of an untried 26-year-old jumping into the Sydney furnace.
«I always wanted to be a trainer and then my first week of training I thought, ‘what the hell have I got myself into’,» Litt said.
And so he was there in a $2 million race, just happy to be there.
I’m speechless. This is what you do it for, this is what you get up for and this horse is the real deal. It’s unbelievable.
«I’m speechless,» he said. «This is what you do it for, this is what you get up for and this horse is the real deal. It’s unbelievable.»
A few steps away from Litt in the Warwick Farm mounting yard, buzzing with a crowd in excess of 6000, was Olympic gold medallist Chloe Esposito. For once, she was far from centre of attention.
The pentathlete was there with the most honourable of reasons. She’s family friends with the young trainer, whose kids attend her parents’ swimming school. Her family hasn’t only helped them learn to swim, but she also babysits Litt’s children herself.
She had an obscured view of the Millennium but thought Castelvecchio ($23) had placed watching it live. It was only moments later she realised the horse had swept down the extreme outside to nail Chris Waller’s favourite Accession ($2.35), with second favourite Dawn Passage ($2.80) in third.
«That’s just incredible,» Esposito said. «I know how hard they work, and my sister and I babysit the kids as well. I know how early they get up in the morning, that’s amazing. It was so, so exciting. I had that weird gut feeling something good was going to happen today. I’m speechless. They deserve it so much.»
Galletta couldn’t say much. Maybe he will buy Arrowfield Stud boss John Messara a bottle of vino during the week, having purchased the Dundeel colt on the former Racing NSW chairman’s recommendation. He just proclaimed «what a horse».
A horse good enough to make it to the Golden Slipper?
«The Inglis Sires is probably the best bet for him and we’ll go from there,» Litt said. «He is in the Slipper, but I don’t think this prizemoney counts. We won’t push him. He’s obviously a very nice horse, but we won’t rush him into the Slipper. We’ll just take our time and see where he takes us.»
It might be on a ride of a lifetime. It might be a ride that fizzles out.
But almost definitely, it’s going to bring one young trainer keys to a new house.
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.