Of course that didn’t mean it could not produce a compelling contest, and in the end it certainly delivered as the Wilde-trained Allibor and Yendall staged a battle royale over the closing stages with the Damien Oliver-ridden and Richard Freedman-trained filly Sweet Reply.
The latter did get her nose in front in the drive to the line but Yendall, riding with plenty of vigour, got the progressive son of All Too Hard to respond bravely to put his head in front in the last strides and break his duck in style at his fourth race start.
Liam Hoy, representing the Wilde camp, praised the gelding’s fighting qualities.
“It was a long straight and he needed every inch of it. It was a little bit of an afterthought [coming to] the Guineas. Obviously Aysar was going to be the one to beat. You need a lot of luck in the game, I suppose, and it was just on out side today,” Hoy said.
“I know you’re not supposed to have favourites but I have a real soft spot for him. He’ll get an extra pick of grass tonight, I suppose.”
There was quite a strong South Australian flavour to some of the earlier races as former SA champion Jamie Kah – who currently leads the Victorian metro premiership – won on Shamino for former Adelaide-based trainer Phillip Stokes. Kemalpasa, who is still trained over the border by Richard Jolly and his daughter Chantelle, also triumphed in the hands of Craig Williams.
“He’s got that determination and, thankfully, we’ve got him back flying at the moment,” said Jolly, who stayed in Adelaide, after the group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes.
“We hope that one day this horse might crack it for a group 1 win if we can get him in the right race.”
Damien Oliver used all his experience and judgement of pace in the opening two-year-old race to land the spoils in the last strides aboard the Godolphin colt Anamoe, who flashed home to down the favourite Forbes.
“That was a nice effort. I’ve done a bit of work on him and once I got the chance I let him run. They might’ve got away a bit in the run but he’s a nice horse with ability. He’s scopey and will get better when he gets over 1200 metres,” he said.
The Dabernig and Hayes stables were disappointed by the scratching of Aysar, who had looked to be their best prospect all day, but they got some consolation earlier in the afternoon when Hindaam, in the same ownership, won stylishly in the hands of Daniel Stackhouse in the listed Twilight Glow Stakes.
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing