Just Fine (+220) has justified favourtism in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m), going on to score a dominant victory on Saturday.
The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained European import was an encouraging debut winner over 1600m on September 2, and has now gone on with the job in stakes company, careering away with the prize and solidify favourtism for the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) on September 30.
It was a confident steer from jockey Regan Bayliss, electing to sit outside the leader throughout the 2000m contest, and with a genuine tempo throughout courtesy of stablemate Knights Order (+3300), it was a testing trip for the son of Sea The Stars.
Once he rounded the top of the straight, there was only one horse you wanted to be on as Benaud (+1300) and Montefilia (+360) were left chasing for the minor money.
2023 Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes Replay – Just Fine | T: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott | J: Regan Bayliss
It was all about the winner, however, as Just Fine proved to be far too strong and co-trainer Adrian Bott confirmed the quality five-year-old gelding would now head to the Group 1 feature in two weeks’ time in his post-race assessment.
“It was a great performance on debut here over the mile,” said Bott.
“He gave an indication we thought he’d do that going over a little bit further as well but to do it up in this grade with the pressure and the shape of the race the way it worked out, and to win in that fashion, certainly some really encouraging signs.
“He’s made a huge statement in his two starts.
“He’s a very nice, progressive horse so there’s a lot of upside there.
“The manner in which he won today off pressure a long way from home and to quicken off that the way he did, he certainly looks to be well above average.
“On to the Metrop. There’s probably a few other feature races I’d like to see him nominated for that we missed!”
Jockey Regan Bayliss was elated to get the reins back after missing out on Just Fine’s Australian debut.
“Gai (Waterhouse) and Adrian (Bott) didn’t have to put me on again today,” said Bayliss.
“But they stuck loyal and that’s half the battle. He’s a serious horse and he’ll keep getting better.”
Just Fine is now the (+250) favourite for the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) on September 30.