PROMISING three-year-old Ace High has added a group three title to its resume after taking out the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick.
Setting the tempo from the beginning, the $3.10 favourite at Crownbet was able to deliver a kick from the head of affairs and hold out fast-finishing Tangled ($1.80 at William Hill) to win for the first time in six attempts at the track.
Sully, which encountered traffic at the 400m mark, got out late and flashed home to claim third and return $2.10 at Sportsbet.
Brenton Avdulla said the barrier draw was the decisive factor between winning and losing for Sully.
“He ran terrific,” Avdulla said.
“From where he drew he got back but if he had drawn a gate he probably ends up third or fourth and probably wins the race.”
The win was all about Ace High however, which could use Saturday’s race as a launch pad to upcoming group one races.
Jockey Ty Angland said the horse was there to be beaten in the latter stages of the race.
“Went forward again today, we thought there was going to be a bit more pressure,” Angland said.
“He just had a beautiful run and I thought I would make it a staying test. I was on empty late, but the easy sectionals early that I got right paid dividends.”
Trainer David Payne echoed Angland’s sentiments, saying they had to dictate terms to make it a race that would suit their elect.
“I think he is going to be a better horse when he can follow something,” the trainer said
“But today we had to make it a stayer’s race. We always thought he was going to be up there. It’s just circumstances that has worked out this way. There was no pace in the race.”
The win saw Ace High firm into $7 at Ladbrokes for the Victoria Derby, and Payne believes his horse has the ability to take out the group one race.
“Definitely a Derby horse,” the trainer said of Ace High.
“That’s when you can give him a bit of a breather. I’ll speak to the owner and see how we go.
“I’m keen on the Derby.”
The trainer was prepared to heap plenty of praise upon the horse, stating it could join some of the immortals of his stable as a group one winner.
“I had Criterion, Praecido and Honorius and they all ran well. He’s the best of them.
“Well I don’t know better than Criterion but he’s a good stayer. Criterion was more brilliant. His brilliance got him the trip. He was more of a miler.”