The promising juvenile Steep notched a milestone for Patinack Farm last weekend before the gelding completed back-to-back Saturday wins in the $70,000 Murray Cox Handicap (1400m) at Flemington.
Steep posted the giant operation’s 100th winner of the season when he won at Seymour. The two-year-old made light of the jump to city class to score a hard-fought win after overcoming early difficulties.
Barrier 10 proved slightly problematic for Steep’s jockey Aaron Spiteri, who decided to send the son of Shamardal forward to race close to the speed in the early stages.
Steep and the Darley-owned Haussmann kicked clear of their rivals at the 250 metres before Steep did slightly better over the final stages. Escado settled well back but ran home well to finish third in front of River Cruise.
Patinack Farm’s Melbourne representative Glen Thompson, the brother of the Nathan Tinkler-owned stable’s retained trainer John Thompson, said the racing calendar forced the team to run Steep seven days after his maiden success.
“There’s not a lot of options for two-year-olds down here once you get past 1200 (metres),” Thompson said. “We didn’t have too many choices other than to send him around again.
“I thought his win last Saturday was quite good at Seymour, he did a lot wrong and was still good enough to win.
“With natural improvement today, I thought he would be a good chance today. Aaron rode him perfectly.
“He is probably still six to 12 months away from his best but he has definitely got a whole heap of improvement left in him.”
Steep defeated Haussmann by a neck while Escado finished a half-length away from the winner in third spot. The two-year-olds covered the 1400-metre distance in 1:26.72 on slow ground with a final 600-metre sectional of 36.40 seconds. The time was more than six seconds outside the track record.
Connolly Bloodstock paid $100,000 on behalf of Patinack Farm for Steep at the 2011 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale.
Steep and Aaron Spiteri (yellow) and Haussman and James Winks inside, picture Turfpress