Two up: Reparations (left) brings up a running double for Anthony Freedman. Photo: Getty Images
Mick Price was thinking of bigger prizes after his promising colt Pressing gave his rivals a start and a beating in the listed $120,000 Sky High Mt Dandenong Stakes (1200 metres) at Caulfield on Saturday.
That was after the race but halfway through, Price and the punters who had backed Pressing from $3.70 to $2.70 favouritism had some serious concerns.
''I hoped having had a run he would have got on the bridle a bit better,'' said Price in reference to Pressing’s debut win where he also settled last. ''You wouldn’t want to be betting in the run in the first half would you?''
While Pressing had been four lengths behind the second last horse before the turn, Brad Rawiller cut the corner as most of the field headed wide and, as they straightened, Pressing was up with the leaders.
Pressing quickly put the race away and drew clear to record a very impressive win, 3½ lengths clear of Petrology ($4), with Easy Drama ($10) a head away third.
''I had keep on top of him and gave him a couple [with the whip] before we straightened, which is pretty rare for my riding, but he needed it,'' Rawiller said. ''Once we straightened he was always going to win.''
Price is now considering a trip to Brisbane for the group 1 J J Atkins Stakes and group 2 Sires’ Produce Stakes for Pressing, although he is wary of how the colt will progress in what is his first campaign.
''I don’t know if there's enough in the tank to do that, but we’ll have a look at him and make a decision.''
Anthony Freedman was also contemplating a trip to Brisbane for the Stradbroke Handicap with Reparations after the gelding scored a narrow victory in the listed Thoroughbred Club Cup (1440 metres).
''This horse has gone up a few levels in the last six or eight weeks,'' Freedman said. ''He’d need things all in his favour and be down at the bottom of the weights ... but he’d not be without some silly chance.’’
Reparations had settled well back in the field with the leader Loot ‘N’ Run being allowed to dictate terms.
He had all his rivals off the bit as they straightened but started to tire inside the final 150 metres and Reparations ($3.50 to $2.50 favourite) finished too strongly to win by a long neck.
The win brought up a running double for Freedman, who took the previous race with Crucial.
Dwayne Dunn continued his successful comeback from a back injury, taking the riding honours with a treble, the first of them on the promising David Brideoake and David Feek trained Griante ($4.60 to $3.70), who was an impressive winner of the VAFA Plate.
Feek said that while there were some possible black-type options in Queensland for the filly, she was likely to stay home.
''She is Super VOBIS qualified so she can stay here and race for plenty of money without needing to travel,'' Feek said.
Melbourne jockey Stephen Arnold enjoyed a group 1 success in Adelaide Kushadasi scored a last-stride win in the South Australian Derby (2500 metres).
The well supported Order Of The Sun ($5 to $3.90 favourite) had set the pace but was under pressure as they cornered for home, with Scratchy Bottom cutting the corner and going through to lead when they straightened.
Scratchy Bottom ($5.50) continued to find under hard riding from Dom Tourneur and looked set to hold on but a last-gasp lunge from Kushadasi ($4.60) saw him gain the verdict by a nose, with Best Case ($12) a further nose away third.