Lloyd Williams’ head trainer Robert Hickmott unearthed a possible Australian Guineas 2016 contender for this season’s Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival after Pattern enjoyed a nice Flemington win over the weekend.
A three-year-old son of High Chaparral, the up-and-coming gelding retained his undefeated status winning his second career start by a quarter length in the $80,000 Seascay Handicap (1400m) on Chester Manifold Stakes Day.
Ridden by last November’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne the $3.80 favourite in betting defeated the Tony McEvoy-trained Niccoco ($5.50) with the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Lahqa ($7) third in the Benchmark 78 handicap.
It was no dream run for Pattern who overcame a wide barrier 10 of 12 draw from which he got stuck three and four-wide without cover in transit before pulling it together over the closing stages.
The gutsy win followed Pattern’s successful debut when Payne guided him to a smart two and a quarter length success at Echuca on December 31.
Payne was full of post-win praise for Pattern on the weekend who she labelled a “star in the making” for Macedon Lodge.
“He’s a real class galloper,” Payne told Racing Victoria.
“When I really asked him for the effort he motored home.
“He’s got all the attributes of a good horse – I think he’s a star in the making.”
A possible top level autumn target should the horse continue to rise through the ranks and display class is the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) over the Flemington mile on March 5.
Current all-in Australian Guineas odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Group 1 winning New Zealand colt Xtravagant ($5) who remains top of the markets despite his shock fourth to Dukedom in the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on Saturday.
Pattern is yet to be added to the futures Australian Guineas betting markets.
Hickmott has saddled up just one Australian Guineas runner to date for a third place finish.
Last year’s Australian Guineas winner was the Gai Waterhouse-trained Wandjina who came off a victory in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) the run before at Flemington in late February.
This autumn’s $150,000 CS Hayes Stakes runs on Black Caviar Lightning Day, February 20, and is sure to feature a field full of Australian Guineas-bound colts and geldings.
Another progressive three-year-old eyeing an Australian Guineas run this season is the Peter Moody-trained Reward For Effort colt Gold Symphony.
A winner of three of his five runs so far, the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) – Group 3 HDF McNeil Stakes (1200m) double champ from last August returned to racing on the weekend in Flemington’s $250,000 Inglis Dash (1100m).
The lucrative restricted sprint was won by Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival hopeful Hellbent while Gold Symphony could only manage to finish nearly seven lengths away fifth.
He is tipped to improve when stepped up over more distance following his much awaited return, the bookies currently offering $21 for Gold Symphony to win the Australian Guineas.
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