John Sadler’s honest short course galloper Henwood jumped favourite and saluted for the punters in Caulfield Race 3 on Memsie Stakes Day beating home a field of potential 2014 Caulfield Cuphorses.
A host of runners with dreams of a $3 million Group 1 Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) run back at the track on October 18 lined-up in the $80,000 WeDrive Plate (1400m) today.
It was Sadler’s Savabeel six-year-old Henwood though that jumped top fancy in the Ladbrokes.com.au markets after a close call at Moonee Valley last week when taking on the sprinters over 1200m to finish under a length away fifth to Trust In A Gust.
On the short back-up the horse presented well and in an improved effort seven days later dug deep despite a late challenge to win with apprentice Regan Bayliss aboard.
“Really good,” Sadler told the media post-win.
“Due to win the horse.
“He ran well last Saturday…got a good run today and went one better.
“He’s a really descent horse.”
Settled second behind the pacesetter Mr Make Believe, which hung on for sixth, Henwood made his move to hit the front on the straight with the Mick Price-trained Eximus from the wide gate hot on his tail.
It looked like Price’s last start Flemington winner over the distance would get there for a time too, but Henwood didn’t let his rival catch-up and saluted by half a length running the more dour types off their legs after getting into the race at the right time.
In third was then veteran Commands seven-year-old Commanding Time in a nice return from the Yarra Valley Cup winner.
Helping Henwood out today was his nice drop back from 59kg at the Valley to just 55.5kg, the favourite hard to beat on paper and proving the form right.
While not quite having the zip to run down the winner Eximius’s second was also an honest effort, both he and Henwood having come through the Listed Winter Championship Final (1600m) finishing 10th and fourth respectively.
While Sadler is yet to assign any major Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival goals for Henwood, the horses finishing in the second half of the field today have some ambitious aims.
There were a few really nice runs to come out of the race too looking ahead to the spring Group 1s over more suitable metres.
Those to take improvement out of the run include Port Adelaide Cup winner Ominous finishing fourth past the post who is also nominated for Sydney’s $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m), the promising Darren Weir-trained Signoff as well as Colin Little’s Caulfield Cup bound mare Text’N Hurley who are all looking for more distance.
A winner of six of his seven starts to date, Authorized gelding Signoff has winning form up to 2500m and is also nominated for the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
The four-year-old is undefeated at Moonee Valley having won by five lengths there on March 29 and also over the Cox Plate track and distance by two and a half lengths from a wide gate back in February.
Weir’s other runner in the race today was Prince Of Penzance who settled at the tail end of the field with Michelle Payne aboard before making up lots of late ground in a promising return.
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