Keen Array’s affinity for the 1200m at Caulfield has continued with the talented sprinter winning a dramatic Listed race.
Keen Array had to pass a veterinary examination after lunging forward in the barriers before he was able to take his place in Wednesday’s Italktravel Stakes.
He then controlled the race from the front to win by two lengths, although the gelding actually wasn’t the first horse across the finishing line.
Taddei Tondo finished just ahead but completed the course riderless after he dumped his jockey Patrick Moloney when he knuckled after the gates opened.
The riderless Taddei Tondo was on the outside of the runners around the home turn and hampered Illustrious Lad.
Keen Array, the $3 favourite, defeated Illustrious Lad by two lengths with a length to Sebring Sun third.
“I thought I got rolled but there was no-one on it,” Keen Array’s jockey Dwayne Dunn said.
Keen Array won the $350,000 Blue Sapphire Stakes over the same course and distance at the corresponding meeting a year ago, while his only other start over the Caulfield 1200m brought victory in the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes.
“He just smashed his head into the front of the gates (in the barriers) and got his bottom jaw stuck there, that’s why we had to get him vetted,” Dunn said.
“But he’s done a good job. Hopefully he’s off to bigger and better things.”
Moloney escaped unharmed and could see the lighter side of Taddei Tondo finishing just in front of Keen Array.
“Maybe I’m the problem,” he said.
“He just knuckled out of the barriers. He hasn’t won for a while and he’s got his confidence up today.”
The Group One Manikato Stakes (1200m) and a Group Two sprint at Flemington on Victoria Derby day are Keen Array’s options.
“I think he’s going to set up really well for either an ambitious Moonee Valley run or a conservative Flemington run,” co-trainer David Hayes said.
The Hawkes Racing-trained Euro Angel has finished strongly to win the Group Three Ladies Day Vase (1600m) by 1-1/2 lengths from Rocket Commander.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said it was important for Euro Angel’s future as a broodmare to get her first black-type win, being a half-sister to Group winners Polish Knight and Leebaz.