Danny O’Brien’s stable “soldier” Decircles improved on a third on New Year’s Day last year to beat two better fancied favourites in Thursday’s Standish Handicap 2015 at Flemington Racecourse.
Twelve months ago the now six-year-old Encosta De Lago gelding finished three lengths away third behind Flamberge in the $150,000 Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m).
This spring – summer season he returned off a five month break to run two below par races at Flemington, including an 11th first-up behind Reparations in the Listed MSS Security Sprint (1200m) down the straight on Melbourne Cup Day.
Third-up however he hit his peak when jockey Stephen Baster rode the $9 shot to a three-quarter length win over the Robbie Laing-trained Sir John Monash Stakes winner Lord Of The Sky ($4) with Lee & Anthony Freedman’s $3.80 favourite Reparations a further quarter-length away for third.
Baster gave his galloper a nice ride, avoiding the middle of the track, and was able to get onto the back of Lord Of The Sky who led them into the race before Decircles pulled out a brilliant late burst to get the bikkies.
“I was keen that he didn’t run down the middle of the track and when Lord Of The Sky went to the rail it gave us a bunny to chance,” O’Brien told the media post-win.
“He finished strongly and deserved this win.”
Baster was also pleased with the horse’s run after getting no luck last time out.
“Everything went his way after everything went wrong last start,” he said.
Decircle’s record at Victoria’s premier track has been very good especially over the 1200m.
Proving somewhat of a straight-course specialist at Flemington he now boasts three wins, a second and a third from six starts over the track and distance.
This year’s Standish Handicap victory was Decircle’s first win since mid-December last year and proved to local horseman O’Brien that the galloper was still capable of feature race success after his wind-pipe operation early in his career.
Before that the horse was showing plenty of promise at a young age, including a second to Running Tall in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes in March of 2011.
“He has been a good soldier for the stable,” O’Brien said.
“The wind operation did not compromise him too much. In fact, it was our stable’s most successful wind operation.
“Even though he is a gelding, it is nice that he now is a Group 3 winner.”
Decircles has now won five of his 27 career starts for $435,520 in prize money.
O’Brien meanwhile celebrated his third Standish Handicap victory following wins with Blessum (2004) and more recently Adamantium (2013).
Last year’s Standish Handicap winner Flamberge went on to enjoy a strong autumn racing season in Melbourne and then Sydney.
He ran fifth behind the world’s highest rated sprinter Lankan Rupee in both the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield and the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington, and has won two subsequent Group 3 races.
Whether Decircles is up to that class will be decided a little later, but first O’Brien plans to back him up in two weeks’ time in the $120,000 Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) on January 17 back at Flemington.
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2015 Standish Handicap Results & Finishing Order
Flemington Race 6 – 01/01/2015
|1||9||DECIRCLES||Danny O’Brien||Stephen Baster||–||10||54kg||$9|
|2||5||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||Noel Callow||0.75L||4||57.5kg||$4|
|3||1||REPARATIONS||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Dwayne Dunn||2L||2||59kg||$3.80F|
|4||11||MISTER MILTON||Norman Waymouth||Craig Williams||4.75L||5||54kg||$15|
|5||8||SOLSAY||Michael Kent||Ms Jackie Beriman (a)||5.5L||6||54kg||$13|
|6||2||AERONAUTICAL||Lionel Cohen||Damien Oliver||5.7L||11||58.5kg||$7|
|7||3||AMORINO||Archie Alexander||Steven Arnold||5.8L||1||58kg||$18|
|8||7||OFFICE BEARER||Peter G Moody||Vlad Duric||6L||8||55kg||$9|
|9||6||WHITLAM||Danielle Wilson||Darren Gauci||6.3L||3||55.5kg||$17|
|10||4||BLACKIE (NZ)||Jarrod McLean||Nicholas Hall||6.5L||7||57.5kg||$21|
|11||10||FUTURE SOLUTION||Kane Harris||Glen Boss||7.75L||9||54kg||$61|