Positioning is everything and while co-trainer Michael Freedman and jockey Brenton Avdulla expected to be close to the front, if not leading, with Excellent Proposal in the $125,000, Australian Turf Club Handicap (1400m) for two-year-old’s at Randwick on Saturday, a mid-field slot on the outside of the field worked just fine.
Excellent Proposal and Brenton Avdulla, picture Sportpix.com.au
Punters had come for Mandela backing the Sebring colt into $2.40, however, from barrier one Mandela was slow away and Tim Clark found himself on the rails four back from the leader Pixel Perfect and Kathy O’Hara.
That was as good as it got for Mandela with Clark surrounded by runners as they entered the main straight. For the duration of the trip to the line they were unable to obtain clear running room and supporters had to watch the demise of their investments.
Out in front Pixel Perfect (53.5kg) was bowling along well for O’Hara in the Snitzel filly’s first attempt at city company after two earlier placings at Newcastle. The win looked distinctly possible until the arrival of Excellent Proposal (56.5kg) and Avdulla down the outside.
Excellent Proposal’s passage had been the direct opposite of Mandela with room to improve on the turn and then clear running all the way to the line. The step up from Excellent Proposal’s debut win at Kembla Grange over 1200m on June 27th was taken with a fast finishing head win.
Pixel Perfect kept on well for second and further time will suit her being out of the Zabeel mare Pixels for Torrybury Stud. She finished 3/4L ahead of Frosty Rocks (Your Song) (55.5kg) and Jason Collett with Havin’ Fun fourth. Mandela was fifth, 1 3/4L from the winner.
The time was 1.23.92 on the Soft 6 track with the final 600m in 35.18. Excellent Proposal paid $11.00 on fixed odds and $13.20 on the tote.
“Michael said to me that if we could lead it would be beneficial and I thought the same, but once the gates opened he took a backward step and he put me worse than mid-field,” said Avdulla.
“I had to sum the situation up there and I ended up getting a nice trail three wide with cover, with a soft speed. I had my main aim back inside me so I was able to ride my race comfortably and when I got stuck into him he kept responding.
“To his credit he knuckled down late and when he goes longer he will be better too. Kathy controlled the speed and she rode it very well and I thought I was not going to get her and run a nice closing second or third. But like I said, to my horse’s credit he dug deep when I asked him and it was actually quite soft in the last couple of strides,” he said.
“He is very raw, he gets himself a bit worked up before the race and he does a little bit wrong, but that said you cannot do much more that win two from two and I think he has a good future,” said Freedman.
“We will see how he pulls up, we might give him a little bit of a let up and give him a crack at some better races in the spring. As I said he is very raw, slow maturing so he might be one even better placed in the autumn, so we will just wait and see,” he said.
Excellent Proposal is a colt by Exceed And Excel out of the Pivotal mare Procrastination and his two starts, two wins, have earned stakes of $102,865 for owners KK Chung and MW Chung.
Excellent Proposal and Avdulla out wide on the track, picture Stevehart.com.au
Australian Turf Club Handicap, photo finish picture ATC