In what looks to have proved a masterstroke by trainer John Thompson, the recently gelded With Your Blessing has returned in fine fashion to finally shed his maiden tag in the opening event at Randwick Kensington on Wednesday.
Having been competitive at Group level in his debut preparation, finishing a narrow (0.8L) fourth in last year’s Pago Pago Stakes and fifth (4.8L) in the Schweppervescence before losing his way in his second campaign, the three-year-old resumed with a bang over the 1100m off the back of a handy Randwick trial.
“He was disappointing last start, his mind just wasn’t on the job. He was over-racing and doing things wrong, so he had that attitude adjustment,” Thompson said.
“It’s a hard call to make sometimes when a two-year-old shows a little bit of promise early, but common sense prevailed and we did the right thing, and it’s hopefully going to come to fruition going forward.”
Sent out a clear second pick ($4) behind short favourite Devil’s Throat ($1.65), the son of Vadamos jumped away fairly from his inside draw before settling just off the pace on the rails under the riding of leading jockey James McDonald.
Electing to stick to the inside, McDonald and his mount shot up the rails approaching the 200m to quickly eyeball the favourite. Locked in a two-horse war, the pair put pay to their rivals as they careered toward the finish.
Showing great determination, With Your Blessing managed to edge out Devil’s Throat to win by a long neck, with a good gap back to third.
Admittedly hesitant to send the gelding to the races after the sole lead-up trial, Thompson was thrilled with the three-year-old’s efforts.
“To be honest, I probably would’ve trialled him again, but James said ‘don’t trial him again, go to the races — he’s ready to win’,” Thompson said. “He was good. He was probably starting to get a bit tired late, but he will improve with the run.”
Having been impressed with the gelding’s performance in the lead up trial, McDonald was eager to jump back aboard and was confident he was going to be ultra-competitive upon resumption.
“That’s why I took the ride [based on the trial performance]. I had a really nice feel of him the other day and he trialled the house down,” McDonald said. “He’s a lovely horse, he’s a really good action horse. Obviously, the gelding has improved him.”