Talented stayer Escado has returned to the winner’s circle in particularly impressive fashion at Moonee Valley this evening; leading from start to finish to take out the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) ahead of a talented field.
Jumping from the gates well, jockey Ben Melham led Escado forward and immediately took up the pace ahead of the field of nine on the rails; setting only a fair tempo past the post the first time and over onto the back straight.
Barely troubled at the fore of the field in transit, Escado noticeably kicked up a gear arriving at the final turn to ensure the field would be strung out and the race’s backmarkers had plenty of work to do.
Offered a clear racing line leading into the final straight, Escado continued to find; seeing off a late charge from Naturalism Stakes winner Magnapal to post a fifth career win.
Melham delivered a gem of a ride aboard Escado for success in the JRA Cup and was quick to lay all the praise on the class of the Casino Prince gelding.
“His runs have been good this prep,” Melham said.
“He doesn’t corner very well so I was happy to ride him closer to the speed today.
“He landed in front, rolled along to dictate and just stepped it up from the half mile and was too good.
“He’s very underrated this horse – he sort of flies under the radar and he always puts his best foot forward when he gets out to these sorts of trips, so hopefully there’s some better races for him.”
Trainer Matt Laurie was thrilled with Escado’s performance for success in the 2015 JRA Cup, and revealed he will now aim the six-year-old towards an appearance in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on November 7th.
“I’m a bit speechless to be honest because I didn’t think he’d be winning tonight,” Laurie said after the race.
“He’s in good order but he’s the sort of horse that makes you sort of second guess yourself.
“He does carry a lot of condition but it was a great ride from Ben, he summed it up and he was super tough.
“He’s had a long career. I’ve got to hand it to him because he won his first race as a two-year-old and he’s still going strong now.
“He’s nominated for the big races but I think the Bendigo Cup and the Queen Elizabeth will be suitable races for this horse and he’s managed to pick up a really good one on the way.”
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