Cranbourne’s Michael Kent took the risk of taking young Victorian galloper Hattori Hanzo to Sydney on Coolmore Classic Day and came out with a big hope for the Tulloch Stakes after the three-year-old won the Phar Lap Stakes 2016.
The son of Sebring had won his past two on the trot firstly over 1413m at Sale and then the 1514m at Moonee Valley in non-black type company leading up to his first big test in the $175,000 Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens.
In his Sydney debut and first stakes assignment the horse settled nicely into second after settling with Noel Callow making a rare trip from Melbourne to stay on the progressive galloper.
Anthony Cummings’ previously undefeated filly Believe was one of the best out of the barriers and went to the front to lead from the eventual winner with Sacred Eye third just ahead of the Luke Price-trained Man Of Choice.
Race favourite Old North missed the jump and was settled well back.
On the straight Believe, a last start winner at the track and distance, still had the lead ahead of Hattori Hanzo while Sacred Eye for David Hayes & Tom Dabernig sat one off the fence in third second-up.
Over the closing stages the John O’Shea-trained punters’ pick Old North ($3.30) travelled up between horses, but was looking in real trouble 300m from the line.
The challengers came including Manhattan Rain gelding, the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes third placed Man Of Choice who moved off the fence, but Believe was showing plenty of fight trying to score the all-the-way Phar Lap Stakes win.
In a thrilling conclusion, four horses crossed very evenly over the line in a blanket finish.
A photo result showed roughie Hattori Hanzo ($16) won the late lunge and got the win by a bob in the barest possible nose victory over Man Of Choice ($15) who was also at double figures in betting.
Battling it out for third were the favourite Old North who just lost out on the money to the pace setter Believe ($6) in a nice run from the lightly-raced filly having only her third career start.
Winning trainer Kent said it was the lack of mile races for three-year-olds in Melbourne that saw him bring Hattori Hanzo to Sydney, with the other option being Moonee Valley’s Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) on March 18 over further distance.
“I think he’s a nice horse,” Kent summed up.
He confirmed the next-up target was a return to Rosehill Racecourse on The BMW Stakes Day, March 26, for a shot at the $175,000 Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m).
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2016 Phar Lap Stakes Results
Rosehill Race 6 – 12/03/2016
|1||6||HATTORI HANZO||Michael Kent||Noel Callow||–||6||56.5kg||$14|
|2||1||MAN OF CHOICE||Luke Price||Tim Clark||0.1L||1||56.5kg||$13|
|3||10||BELIEVE||Anthony Cummings||Kerrin McEvoy||0.3L||5||54.5kg||$5.50|
|4||5||OLD NORTH||John O’Shea||James McDonald||0.4L||4||56.5kg||$3.10F|
|5||7||SACRED EYE||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Brett Prebble||2.3L||2||54.5kg||$3.90|
|6||2||TATOOSH||Paul Perry||Christian Reith||2.8L||7||56.5kg||$31|
|7||3||TORGERSEN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||3.1L||3||56.5kg||$7.50|
|8||9||ITALY||John O’Shea||Sam Clipperton||4.2L||8||54.5kg||$11|
|–||4||INTREPID WAY (NZ)||Amanda Turner & Mauro Poletti||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||8||SINGLE GAZE||Nick Olive||Ms Kathy O’Hara||–||0||–||–|