Nash Rawiller took the initiative on Hidden Warrior in the $150,000, Group 3 Telstra Phonewords Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday and it proved to be the winning move as the Paul Perry trained gelding was not sure of the tight track, but he had enough in hand to win.
Hidden Warrior was out well from barrier eight as was Cavalry Rose with James McDonald from barrier six underneath them, but Rawiller decided to press forward to take Hidden Warrior to the lead.
He then slowed the pace through the middle sectionals while the rest of the field decided on their options, which basically amounted to deciding when to attack.
Rawiller put the accelerator down again around the turn for the straight and then Hidden Warrior started to drift wide as he entered the main straight. Cavalry Rose tried to come around Hidden Warrior, but did not have enough momentum, and then the leader went across in front of the filly, but with enough of a lead that there was no interference.
With 100m to travel Hidden Warrior was out in front by 1 1/2L, but he was still drifting wider as Rawiller rode hands and heels.
Rawiller knew he was clear of the field but he had not counted on Haussmann and Kerrin McEvoy coming with a good run right down the outside of the track.
Haussmann had missed the start but the Commands colt powered down the straight, but the finish line came up too soon. Hidden Warrior still had a half-length margin as they crossed the line without drifting out further out on the track into the challengers path.
Chosen Moment (Choisir) and Craig Williams were third, the margin 3/4L. Cavalry Rose was fourth.
The time was 1.11.22 on the Dead 4 track with the final 600m in 36.33. Hidden Warrior paid $7.70.
“We spoke to Nash after his first up run and it was his opinion that Moonee Valley would suit him and full credit to his imagination because he got it right,” said stable representative Shannon Perry.
“Since arriving here the horse has thrived. He was a really good two-year-old and went amiss leading into the Magic Millions but he is a really nice horse to be around,” he said.
Perry expected that Hidden Warrior would now proceed to the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington next Saturday.
"He is a horse with a few tricks but he showed what he is made of today and that is the main thing,” said Rawiller.
“I think he will be better suited (at Flemington). I convinced them to bring him here thinking that he would naturally be on his Melbourne leg and quicken off the corner and be hard to run down.
“He pretty much did everything wrong but his ability just carried him through," he said.
Hidden Warrior is by Hidden Dragon out of the St Covert mare and this was his second win after his maiden at Newcastle over 900m on September 19th. With three second placings he has now earned stakes of $170,200 for owners GS Heber, Mrs PA Heber, Miss K Heber, JD Beck and Mrs NL Beck.
Hidden Warrior and Nash Rawiller ahead of Haussmann and Kerrin McEvoy, picture Quentin Lang, quentinjlang.com