Victorian-trained Mickey Blue Eyes has his sights on the Group One Spring Champion Stakes after storming home to capture the Dulcify Quality at Randwick.
Sent out at $5.50, the promising three-year-old was last on the bend before tracking and pipping favourite Gem Song ($3) on the line to score by a short-half head in the 1600m Listed race.
Senior trainer David Hayes said there was a lot to like about the run after the colt battled back to win in a wind-assisted race-record time of 1:34.83.
“Mickey would have been a bit unlucky to lose,” Hayes said.
“He got held up at a vital stage, but really charged and stuck his head out. He’s a quality horse.”
Jockey Regan Bayliss wasn’t sure if he’d got the bob.
“We had the momentum,” he said.
“He really pinned his ears back and had the will to win, which was good to see.”
Jason Collett, aboard Gem Song who gave the winner six kilograms, though he was home for all money.
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“I’m shocked I got beat. Credit to the winner,” he said.
It was the second straight win for Mickey Blue Eyes after his narrow victory over Black Caviar’s son Prince Of Caviar, who franked the form with a win at Bendigo on Friday.
Hayes reckons he is mounting a compelling form line.
“This prep has been good,” Hayes said.
“He was very close to Alan Bell’s horse (Graff) first start at Hawkesbury in a good race.”
He is likely to stretch out past 1600m for the first time next Saturday for a tilt at the $500,000 Group One Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
“I would say he might run in the Spring Champion Stakes … if he pulls up well,” Hayes said.
His jockey believes he will have no problem with the distance.
“I don’t think 2000 metres will pose a threat at all,” Bayliss said.
“He’s a lovely clean-winded animal and has got a bright future.”