Greg Sugars left Melton on Saturday night satisfied reigning Chariots Of Fire champion Better Eclipse is on track for a successful Queensland Winter Carnival.
Having his first run since finishing third in the Miracle Mile in March, Better Eclipse ($4) ran past the$1.90 favorite Rock N Roll Doo in the home straight scoring by a metre with Spring In His Step a
further metre away third.
After the race Sugars acknowledged his task somewhat eased shortly after the start when he landed in the one out one back trail after the place getters engaged in a spirited duel for the lead before
Rock N Roll Doo assumed control at the 1609 metre mark.
“We had a lovely run in transit and obviously our main danger had to do plenty or work early so the race was well set up for us, but he looks like he’s come through that very well,” Sugars said.
“We will see how he pulls up to see whether he has another run next week or goes straight to Queensland,” he said.
Andy Gath too was suitably impressed with the return of Breeders Crown runner up Yambukian who outclassed his rivals in the first heat of the VHRC Caduceus Metropolitan Pace after sitting parked
over the 2240 metres.
“I thought from the outside draw in a pretty good field it would be difficult but he got to the death a bit easier than I anticipated,” Gath said.
“He probably went better than I expected as he was a bit off after his trial but he has always had a great attitude and a fair amount of ability and he has really good gate speed going forward,” he said.
Gath said he hasn’t mapped out an extensive itinerary for the son of Bettors Delight.
“He’ll obviously run in the final next week and after that we’ll play it by ear with the Four-Year-Old Vicbred at the end of the season his main aim,” he said.
The night didn’t produce the finale the Gath stable was expecting when Majestuoso ($1.55 fav) had his colors lowered in consecutive outings at headquarters after galloping out from the mobile.
Despite losing more than 30 metres at the start, Majestuoso surged to the lead in the home straight only to be run down by Nephew Of Sonoko via the sprint lane.
The Joe Pace trained three-year-old Justalittlesip passed his initiation into metropolitan racing when he scored an authoritative in the Benstud 3YO Pace.
The ex-Kiwi pacer completed a hat trick of wins in Australia when he emerged from the one out one back sit at the 400 metre mark and stole a race winning break on his rivals around the home turn.
Pace said the winner’s sole focus this season is the Victoria Derby.
“He’ll have a fortnight off now just to charge up his batteries, then bring him back in to give him a couple of starts before the Derby,” Pace said.
Pace believes Justalittlesip will measure up to the best of his age later in the season.
“He’s a very nice horse, he showed that back in New Zealand when he was racing against the better class horses,” he said.
“He switches on and off during a race, like tonight James (Herbertson) said he thought he was going to win by 20 or 30 (metres) on the turn but when he went past.”