Honest campaigner John Of Arch was rewarded for his consistency when he took out the $75,000 Singapore Airlines A380 Melbourne Stakes over 1600m on Sunday.
Ridden by South African jockey Greg Cheyne, John Of Arch, $44, scored a half length victory over the favourite Foxtrot Hotel (Danny Beasley) with Knight Spirit (John Powell) a head away in third spot.
Cheyne had John Of Arch settled in fifth position on the fence behind the speed that was set by Xin Treasure (Ivaldo Santana) with Matterhorn (Stephen Baster) and Foxtrot Hotel in close attendance.
John Of Arch (Greg Cheyne) bursts through runners to come out tops, picture Singapore Turf Club
Turning for home Beasley pulled Foxtrot Hotel three wide where he quickly joined the leaders. John Of Arch tracked up behind the speed but was outsprinted.
John Of Arch was starting to wobble about under pressure and got into a bumping duel with those in the chasing pack behind Foxtrot Hotel, but it switched him on as he began to dig deep and was able to run down the favourite in the last 100m.
Hill said John Of Arch had produced two good performances at his last two starts including a last start second to Dynasty Knight on May 6 and that he had not specifically targeted this race.
“He is a good honest horse and I think he put the writing on the wall last run,” said Hill.
“I do not set them up for the big days. To me a race is a race.”
Cheyne said the nice pace in the race had suited John Of Arch who finished gamely in the closing stages.
“His form shows he is an honest horse and the gallop suited him today with a nice decent pace on up front,” said Cheyne.
“I was always in a good position and I had the favourite tow me into the race. He seemed to skip pretty smartly Foxtrot Hotel, but it took him (John Of Arch) time to find his gears and he got up where it counted most.”
A rising eight-year-old, John Of Arch has been a proven money spinner over the years.
An Australian-bred by Testa Rossa from the Geiger Counter mare Ascot Style, John Of Arch landed his tenth victory from 61 starts with a further 12 minor placings and took his prizemoney to almost $500,000 with Sunday’s success.