Progressive stayer O’lonera has upstaged his older rivals to make it back-to-back city wins with a strong performance at Caulfield at the final city meeting of this season.
Trainer Cindy Alderson said Saturday’s $150,000 VOBIS Gold Stayers (2400m) had been the target this preparation for the three-year-old, which went into the race on the back of a last-start win over 2000m against his own age at the same track.
Sent out a $5.50 chance, O’lonera was sent forward from his inside draw by jockey Nick Hall to settle in a share of the lead on the fence.
Honey Steel’s Gold made a move around the two leaders to take the lead passing the 800m before Hall got going on O’lonera from the 600m and had his rivals chasing.
Bondeiger was in a position to challenge on the home corner but O’lonera was full of running and ran the distance right out in his first attempt at 2400m to defeat favourite Oncidium Ruler ($2.70) by 3-1/2 lengths with another half length to Scherzoso ($6.50).
Alderson said O’lonera had been a bit of a revelation since getting out in distance.
“He’s got a really good temperament and you can do what you like with him in a race and I think that helps him, especially getting out to this trip,” Alderson said.
“He (Nick Hall) asked him to go forward today from the inside draw and he just switched off beautifully. Once he got clear at the 600 metre mark he was away.”
With fitness on his side heading into the early part of the new season, which begins on Monday, Alderson says O’lonera is likely to press on with his campaign.
“This was the goal but we’ll probably push on if he comes through it in good order,” Alderson said.
“He’s up ahead of some of the stayers at this stage, so we might as well take advantage of that.”