It’s full steam ahead to the Oakleigh Plate, as Star Patrol produced his electrifying best to win the W.J. Adams Stakes in dominant fashion at Sandown.
The Starspangledbanner gelding returned from a 152-day spell, after what was describe by jockey Ben Melham as a horse that “Didn’t come up” last preparation, to reclaim his best form from in his three-year-old season.
Star Patrol and Ben Melham jumped perfectly from barrier eight to find the one-by-one position, as most punters had mapped a hectic tempo that seemingly didn’t eventuate.
Yulong Command was left up on speed with Alpha One electing to take a sit in behind, which set things up ideally for Star Patrol to cart into the race nicely on the back of the moderate tempo.
Once asked for an effort, the race was put to bed straightening as Star Patrol burnt the turf going past the leaders Yulong Command and Alpha One. While horses chasing in behind like – On The Lead and Dragonstone – would have to settle for the minor money.
2023 W.J. Adams Stakes Replay – Star Patrol
It was all honours to the winner on Thursday in what was a dominant display from the drifting favourite getting out to $3 by start time.
Post-race even trainer Clinton McDonald seemed surprised just how well Star Patrol was on return and how the race unfolded.
“I was wrapped. I was quite surprised when Starry Legend went back, obviously Yulong Command ripped along and I thought ‘wow, we’re sort of there.’ And that surprised me a little bit how well he jumped and put himself there travelling,” said McDonald.
“I was pretty confident once Ben (Melham) balanced him up. I said don’t let him go until you’ve got him straight and get his action right and once he asked him, he really let rip.”
Clinton McDonald was delighted with the return and gave every indication the Oakleigh Plate will be his grand final moving forward.
“We were just happy for the horse to come back and give us some confidence that we’re on the right path. We’ve got big targets in sight and getting into the Oakleigh Plate with no weight is going to be big plus.”
Jockey Ben Melham was pleasantly surprised by the return of Star Patrol as well, speaking post-race on how well he travelled for him and a potential step up in trip for the future for an Oakleigh Plate.
“He actually surprised me how well he won today,” said Melham.
“He wanted to get it over and done with a bit quick early doors and he gives himself a chance to run it out and produce a good finish.”