“I would be keen to go and ride him, depending on what’s on. He seems like more of a miler than Long Leaf.”
Ben Hayes, one third of the training triumvirate (alongside his father David and Hayes senior’s nephew Tom Dabernig) was delighted to see the colt make good use of his inside barrier and get up close home to beat the Archie Alexander-trained Write Your Name.
“It worked out perfectly. It opened up and he was able to take runs, a little bit of class came through, and he was really strong through the line. He’s booked his ticket to New Zealand,” Hayes said.
Comparisons between last year’s winner and Conqueror are inevitable, but while the two are similar in ability there are differences in style.
Long Leaf was more forward as a two-year-old and won stakes races, while Conqueror has proved himself competitive against some of the best in his age group over 1600m in races like the Stutt Stakes, Caulfield Guineas, Carbine Club Stakes and Sandown Guineas.
And if he goes well in New Zealand, he is likely to come back to target races like the Australian Guineas in late summer.
“If you can win a race over there like that you have to be quite good so I think he can definitely come back and target a good race like that,” said Hayes.
“His run in the Caulfield Guineas was pretty good, he could arguably have finished closer with a bit more luck.”
Oliver was not the only rider to land a double.
Upwardly mobile jockey Jye McNeil also scored twice, while a pair from the Matthew Ellerton and Simon Zahra training partnership look set for bigger things after they ran the quinella in a three-year-old fillies race, which the Flemington training duo hope to use as a springboard.
McNeil took his metropolitan total to 17 with a running double in the opening two events, scoring on the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained How Wowmantic, who made it two wins from two starts in an 1100m three-year-old handicap.
He followed up on Our Campana for Caulfield-based veteran Colin Little in the fillies and mares contest over the same course and distance.
The Ellerton and Zahra team sent out the well-named Mrs Beckham to win the Margaret Hogan Handicap from her stablemate Parmie.
Mrs Beckham, by high class English 1600m horse Toronado, is out of a Zabeel mare called Posh. Soccer star David Beckham’s wife, Victoria, is of course the former Spice Girl known as Posh Spice.
Zahra believes both will measure up to better class, with Mrs Beckham suited by a much longer trip than the 1400m over which she scored on Saturday while Parmie might go best at around 1600m.
“I think she is going to stretch out and get over a bit of ground. We have planned something for her later in the autumn,” he said of Mrs Beckham. “She has gone from a maiden to winning this and we couldn’t have been happier. She got a bit lost after hitting the front and she will learn a lot from that.
“It was a 10/10 ride from [jockey] Chris Symons. We just told him to sit in behind the leader and come out late and we couldn’t ask for anymore.
“Parmie is a quality filly and she will get her chance to win a good race over the autumn and that will bring her on again, she’s still a bit wintery. I can’t wait to get her out to a mile. I loved the way she ran through the line.”
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing