Elephant marches to Sandown Stakes win

Damian Lane makes it two wins from two rides aboard Kiwi-bred and trained galloper Elephant. Photo Credit: Bruno Cannatelli

Kiwi galloper Elephant has rebounded from his sole career defeat with an impressive win in Saturday’s Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m).

The Emma-Lee and David Browne-trained gelding suffered his first defeat when thrust into the deep end when he ran a game second in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) at The Valley on September 4 before resuming his winning ways at Sandown on Saturday.

Sent out the +135 favourite under Damian Lane, Elephant scored a 1.25 length win from Romancer (+1000) with Harbour Views (+650) two lengths away third.

Elephant has now won two of his three runs on Australian soil and advanced his record to six wins from seven starts.

The lightly-tried five-year-old is now set to run in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 9.

“That’ll be the plan and where we end up,” David Browne said.

“I was pretty nervous, to be fair, but he was super. That was pretty strong. He kept kicking to the line well and I think there is a bit more improvement yet.

“He’s strengthened up a bit and his coat has got a bit to go still. Hopefully he can carry on with it.

“In all his races, if you look at them, in the last bit he always finds a bit more and lengthens out really well. That’s where he gets it over the rest of them.”

Browne, who has made a sacrifice by being away from his family for an extended period while campaigning the galloper in locked-down Melbourne, said the son of Shocking had exceeded all expectations.

“He just keeps on finding a little bit more,” Browne said. “He never disappoints us.

“It is a bit the same for everyone (in Melbourne) at the moment – eat, sleep, repeat,” Browne said.

“You just concentrate on your work and that is about it.”

Lane has been aboard Elephant in his two Australian victories while Luke Currie had the mount when the gelding was narrowly defeated by Superstorm at The Valley.

He said the gelding was still a “raw” horse but had taken some really good steps.

“He’s taken benefit from his two runs and he’s starting to put it together,” Lane said.

“Today he was still a little unsure in putting the race away and pricked his ears on the line, but he’s a horse who is learning and he’s certainly going about it the right way.”

Lane said Elephant was the right type for the Toorak Handicap, but hopes he is not too harshly handicapped after rising sharply in the ratings after the Feehan placing.

“Hopefully he doesn’t get any points for today or minimal and gets in with a nice weight,” Lane said.

Elephant shapes as one of a number of spring stars for Rich Hill Stud stallion Shocking, who is also the sire of boom galloper I’m Thunderstruck, who is also Toorak bound, while Inverell, another by Shocking, ran well without luck in last Wednesday’s Derby Trial.

He is one of four winners for the very speedy mare Ticklish (NZ) (Maroof), a Listed winner that was Group One placed and is already the dam of multiple Group Three winner Melt (NZ) (Iffraaj).

Elephant’s breeder Andrew Fowler, who is also responsible for the name, is a part-owner of the promising galloper.

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