Patience, good training and a dose of good luck paid off last night for a wayward horse reputed to ocassionally run off course.
There was little doubt Galvarino has the potential to be a good thoroughbred on his Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe second behind Champion Two-Year-Old Lim's Lightning, but he has a history of veering off course shortly after the start in his race and trials.
It was certainly a cause for concern for many racegoers and those forgiving ones who still jumped on the Galvarino bandwagon in Race 2 at Kranji last night were actually taking the horse on trust.
After all, at his last start on Sept 21 last year as the $7 favourite, the three-year-old Australian-bred veered outwards towards the BKE shortly after the start. He also did that in a couple of his trials.
But their daring leap of faith earned them a $15 win payout. Galvarino went off as the second favourite behind trial winner and the champion jockey Vlad Duric-ridden Golden Years, at $11.
Thankfully, a reformed Galvarino was at his best behaviour in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden event. He put his best foot forward to keep running straight, much to the delight and relief of trainer Alwin Tan and jockey Troy See.
Galvarino jumped brilliantly but his backers were probably praying for the horse to stay on-course. Perhaps there was also a bit of divine help when Hugo crossed in to cover Galvarino before breaking clear by about two lengths.
Duric then brought Golden Years up to run past Galvarino to hound the leader. See was unperturbed, sitting quietly and making sure his mount stayed focused. Then came D'Great Journey and newcomers California and Lim's Craft.
Golden Years challenged Hugo on straightening. Galvarino still bided his time. Lim's Craft began to throttle home on the outside. The fast pace began to take its toll on the duelling leaders. Galvarino and Lim's Craft swept past them shortly after the 200m mark.
After a ding-dong tussle, the more experienced Galvarino won by a head in a remarkable 1min 09.92sec over the 1,200m on turf.
"Tonight, my heart was pumping very hard, you know," said trainer Tan, who gave Galvarino seven trials in the last five months to correct his charge's bad manners for his comeback to racing.
"I just kept my fingers crossed and said to myself 'don't hang out, don't hang out' . We used the right-side blinkers and tried to correct him to jump well and go straight forward. Still, the worry was there because it was his first time back to racing."
Tan added that he would now give Galvarino a well-earned rest.
"I will give him a break because he did too many trials, and probably I'll look for the better races for him, like the Singapore Three-Year-Old Series. We're going to work hard and try our best."
When asked his thoughts of the race, See said: "Please, please, please, don't go out. If he goes out, I'll be going out to the 1,600m track already. Yeah, I was really nervous.
"He was really good coming out of the gate and then, when Vlad was trying to cross me, he started to get a bit keen and I had to ease him back. There were no horses around him there and he switched off. I was a bit worried, so I gave him one or two slaps on the shoulder and he started coming along."
But was he worried when Lim's Craft challenged him?
"Yeah, but mine probably had a bit more racing experience and, obviously, the trials. But that was a really good run by the second horse and, thank god, I was on the first one."