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Condor Heroes flies high to make amends

Condor Heroes has been escorted to the barriers ahead of his Warwick Farm rivals, loaded up last and swiftly made amends for a no-show that ended his Golden Slipper hopes.

The two-year-old colt was on his best behaviour on Wednesday to partially atone for his late scratching from the Pago Pago Stakes at Rosehill where he took off before he could be loaded in the gates.

Condor Heroes, the $1.80 favourite, needed coaxing into gate seven for the TAB Plate (1100m), but jumped cleanly and led throughout to score by a length from Argemone ($7.50).

The performance was just what the Gerald Ryan stable was looking for after Condor Heroes’ performance on March 11 sabotaged a potential start in last Saturday’s $3.5 million Slipper.

“He’s got his account off to a start. We can start looking at better races,” Ryan’s stable foreman Sterling Alexiou said.

Alexiou said connections had been wary given Condor Heroes had not raced since a second on debut to Khan in the Breeders Plate last October.

He also had a joint issue after his previous trial in January and had never encountered a heavy 9 track.

“He’s had two setbacks this preparation so it’s always a worry going into a heavy track run whether they’ve got the groundwork under their legs,” Alexiou said.

He was unsurprised Condor Heroes struggled as the post loomed.

“It’s been a while since his last trial so the last hundred metres was always going to be a worry,” he said.

Melbourne-based rider Mark Zahra had the same assessment.

“Another hundred metres on the straight he’d have probably dropped the bit, I had to shake him up,” he said.

“I think he’s getting the idea. He hadn’t raced in a while or trialled so 1100, heavy track, he’s probably done a good job.”

Condor Heroes now targets the Group Three Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) on the opening day of The Championships at Randwick on April 1.

In the other race for two-year-olds, $1.65 favourite Sheika made an imposing debut for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott by winning the #theraces Plate (1100m) by 1-1/4 lengths from Devolving ($18).

“There’s a lot to like from that. She had brilliant gate speed, went through the gears and showed the acceleration when asked,” Bott said.

A run in The Championships is now on the agenda with the Group Two Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 8 an option.

The quality of her run had an immediate impact on the TAB’s fixed odds market for the Percy Sykes as Sheika shortened dramatically from $101 to $11.

Almanzora and Golden Slipper runner-up Frolic are the joint $6 favourites.

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