GRANT BUCKLEY steered the Peter Snowden-trained Escoffier to a first-up victory at Canberra on Friday in the Mark Agency Class 2 Handicap over 1200 metres.
It was not the first time the experienced hoop had ridden the Sydney galloper in a first-up run. The first time was Escoffier's debut at Newcastle on April 28.
On that occasion, Buckley also rode the now four-year-old to victory. The triumph on Friday was the second of Escoffier's four-race career.
Buckley rode the lightly raced gelding exactly to Snowden's instructions and was pleased with the result.
''He's the sort of horse that can over-race a little bit, and Peter said to just switch him off early - which I was able to do - then just finish off, which he did,'' Buckley said. ''A bit of merit too [in the win] as he had to chase from a long way from home.''
Buckley rated him highly.
''He's a nice horse, and a horse that's improving,'' he said. ''Peter was quite happy with the horse during his work, and he has actually come up to that next level.''
After his maiden win, Escoffier's second and third attempts were less successful. He finished worse than mid-field in each.
Despite that, Buckley is adamant the horse is better suited to distances longer than the 1200m he ran on Friday.
''I think he might be a sprinter-miler sort of thing,'' Buckley said.
Snowden had two other gallopers at Canberra on Friday, and both recorded runner-up finishes with Buckley also in the saddle.
The first came in the feature John McGrath Auto Group Benchmark 65 Handicap over 1200m in which Pennines, the even-money favourite, was beaten by Canberra galloper General Jay Dee.
The second came in the Schweppes Maiden Plate over 1400m in which three-year-old Soubresaut fell short by a half-head to fellow Sydney horse I Got You Babe.