After a loss in easier company at Gosford last time out the John O’Shea-trained Handfast improved notably with the blinkers on at Randwick Racecourse on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ to win the South Pacific Classic 2016 for the powerhouse Godolphin stable.
A full field of 15 three-year-olds faced off in this season’s $150,000 Listed South Pacific Classic (1400m), the jump won by the Gerald Ryan-trained King’s Troop who led them around in the handicap clash.
Back in class off a ninth in Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m), the Michael Moroney-trained Tulsa meanwhile missed the kick and settled at the tail end of the field.
In second was the race favourite, Gai Waterhouse’s Star Witness filly Kimberley Star well backed to improve on her Gosford Guineas second last time out, who eventually fell into the box seat travelling third with Mawahibb moving into second.
Also coming off a run at Gosford was Street Cry gelding Handfast who was down from a mile to 1400m today with the hood on to help sharpen up the James McDonald mount.
McDonald had the eventual winner positioned sixth just off the pace conserving energy before making up ground as they went around the bend for home, hitting the straight up there with the front runners.
Kimberley Star quickly dropped out of the race and in the final few hundred meters there were three across the field, Handfast coming up the inside with the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Santa Ana Lane the other big challenger ridden by Hugh Bowman who won the first on Prized Icon.
Handfast ($8.50) showed a brilliant turn of foot late however and drew away for a comprehensive one and three-quarter length over Santa Ana Lane ($10) with Peter & Paul Snowden’s roughie hope Serene Majesty ($26) holding for third after getting the final placing in a bob-of-the-head.
“A lovely horse,” winning hoop McDonald said of Handfast after the victory.
“John (O’Shea) had a good opinion of his work and put him in this race and he delivered.”
O’Shea said that from a wide barrier against the older horses last time out, there were excuses for Handfast who showed he was better than that performance.
“The other day he drew off the track…we were a bit forgiving of him,” he said.
“We put the hood on him.
“The barriers were also very important today and he got the right one.
“Where James was today (on the rails) was spot on.”
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2016 South Pacific Classic Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 2 – 09/04/2016
|1||8||HANDFAST||John O’Shea||James McDonald||–||1||55.5kg||$9|
|2||1||SANTA ANA LANE||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Hugh Bowman||1.8L||9||59kg||$10|
|3||6||SERENE MAJESTY||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||5.1L||4||57.5kg||$31|
|4||11||CRAIGLEA WANDOO||Krystle Johnston||Paul King||5.2L||5||54kg||$71|
|5||10||CHANDANA||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||5.3L||14||54kg||$8.50|
|6||7||KING’S TROOP||Gerald Ryan||Tim Clark||5.4L||11||56kg||$26|
|7||5||SUSPENSE||Peter & Paul Snowden||Mark Zahra||6.1L||3||58kg||$9.50|
|8||4||LOOK TO THE STARS||David Vandyke||Blake Spriggs||6.6L||12||58kg||$91|
|9||12||MAWAHIBB||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Damien Oliver||8.2L||7||54kg||$7|
|10||3||KIMBERLEY STAR||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||8.5L||6||58kg||$5.50F|
|11||15||DIXIE CHICK||David Pfieffer||Tommy Berry||9L||13||54kg||$19|
|12||14||SONIC SWISH||Tim Martin||Christian Reith||9.3L||8||54kg||$13|
|13||2||PURITAN||Jason Warren||Craig Williams||9.4L||15||58.5kg||$18|
|14||9||TULSA||Michael Moroney||Dwayne Dunn||10.2L||10||55.5kg||$10|
|15||13||DARK STEEL||Peter & Paul Snowden||Thomas Huet||11.4L||2||54kg||$14|
|–||18||NOT A CHERRY||Anthony Cummings||Sam Clipperton||–||0||–||–|
|–||19||EGYPTIAN SYMBOL||Bjorn Baker||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||16||DANE THUNDER||Shane Bottomley||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||17||INVINCIBLE KNIGHT||John P Thompson||–||–||0||–||–|