Godolphin colt Morton’s Fork has surged late to claim the Sandown Guineas in a win which suggests better things are in store for the three-year-old.
Morton’s Fork was sent out the $2.30 favourite in Saturday’s Group Two race over 1600m at Sandown, but was forced to make his run wide on the home turn to try to reel in his rivals.
He kept responding for Craig Williams on the outside to grab the previously unbeaten Ruthven by a short head with three quarters of a length to Jennifer Lynn third.
Williams was glowing in his praise for the John O’Shea-trained Morton’s Fork’s desire to pin his ears back and win.
“I really asked him to extend and every time I asked him he just lengthened,” Williams said.
“I don’t know what they’re going to do with him but the indication he gave me today, there’s no reason why he won’t be targeted at a race like the Rosehill Guineas in the autumn.”
Morton’s Fork took his record to four wins and four seconds from nine starts with his only unplaced run when he had no luck at Caulfield two starts ago.
“We were expecting him to run well today and he delivered,” O’Shea’s Melbourne stable representative David Charles said.
“He’s got very good form and he hits the line. When a horse has form like that, you know they are going to be coming home strongly.
“He’s a very, very genuine horse and a very exciting horse for the operation.”
Morton’s Fork gave owner Sheikh Mohammed a fifth Sandown Guineas win in the past decade with the previous four coming under the Darley banner when Peter Snowden was head trainer.
Jockey Luke Nolen said Ruthven gave away experience to his rivals in his first racing campaign.
“He’ll be a nice horse in the autumn,” he said.