Kris Lees and Glyn Schofield combined for a rewarding victory in Saturday’s Listed Carrington Stakes at Royal Randwick with Special Reward.
The six-year-old gelding made it a second Listed success in just three starts, after taking out the Razor Sharp Handicap on December 11, where he defeated Snapdancer by half a length.
On Saturday, everything went to plan for the son of Demerit in the 1400m event, who was exposed at just the right time in the 1400m event.
Prior to his win in the Razor Sharp, Special Reward had not won since March, 2020, when he took out the Newcastle Newmarket at Group 3 level, however his trainer now believes that he is back to his best.
“I said going into the race that he’s starting to show the consistency that he showed early in his career,” Lees said on Sky Racing.
“He was good two starts back here; he had excuses the other night at Canterbury where he run well and he looked like he was going to be in the finish a long way from home.
“Glyn rides him really well.
“He’s a horse you just can’t expose him too early.
“I think if you didn’t know him and expose him at the top of the straight, he just could be found wanting that last 100 metres.
“Glyn just kept him covered up as long as he could, exposed him at the right time and got the job done.”
SPECIAL REWARD TAKES OUT THE CARRINGTON STAKES 🏅
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) January 22, 2022
Having drawn barrier two, Schofield kept the gelding out of harms way, before producing him at the top of the straight where he shot through to fend off the fast-finishing Through The Cracks and No Compromise.
“He’s rediscovered his form, he’s rediscovered his mojo,” the winning rider said post-race.
“Through the run, I just had a lovely trail behind Hughie (Bowman aboard Purple Sector), and he obviously didn’t drag me into the race.
“Tempo wasn’t as fast as I would’ve liked it to have been, but at the same time, he didn’t have to carry his big weight off the bridle the whole way.
“He sprinted well; I put him under a little bit more pressure a little bit earlier today, and I was glad to see him really respond and find the line strongly for me.”
Special Reward started as a $10 fancy with online bookmakers in the race and did enough to score by a length, while Through The Cracks closed off well out wide, along with Chris Waller’s $41 outsider No Compromise who railed very well in his first-up run.
Despite heavy backing for Purple Sector, he could only manage fourth after not finding his turn of foot in the concluding stages.