Captain Ravishing separates from derby rivals

Captain Ravishing (Stuart McCormack)

Michael Howard

Captain Ravishing has separated himself from his Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby rivals with a stunning heat performance.

And the tantalizing thing is there’s so much improvement to come.

Clearly green but brimming with potential the three-year-old sat outside lead rival Leap To Fame for much of the long-distance trip and ripped home in a blistering 53.4-second last half to win by two metres, with a big distance to third.

“Yes, he is the best horse I’ve driven,” said reinsman Mark Pitt of the Emma Stewart-trained horse.

“He’s a very special horse this one. I can’t wait for him to work it out and be a true professional race horse.”

It’s a reflection on Captain Ravishing clearly still being exceptionally raw, including hanging in on the final turn that saw Pitt having to correct him and enabled leader Leap To Fame to recover lost ground.

But Captain Ravishing had enough raw ability to regain his footing and surge again, crashing the line in a 26.6-second final quarter.

While Grant Dixon’s NSW Derby winner finished close behind, there was a significant 15-metre gap to third placed Simply Sam, who qualified for the final along with Bet On The Tiger, Justalittlesip and Codename Marcus.

“You can’t take anything away from Leap Of Fame, he’s been there and done that,” Pitt said. “If he has to be driven that way in the final I’ll sure know that he will be real fast.

“I still think there’s a bit more improvement in him yet and he’ll be 100 per cent next week.”

Many will think Captain Ravishing’s path to victory in the Group 1 $200,000 final was made easier after Catch A Wave, long thought to be a leading candidate, failed to advance from the night’s first heat.

He tired after sitting in the breeze but is the likely emergency, having been beaten to the post by long-price winner Major Perry, who pipped Ripp on the line.