Top Melbourne jockey Michael Rodd couldnâ€™t have wished for an easier return to racing after steering Definitely Ready to a comfortable win in track record time at Betfair Park Sandown.
Rodd was having his first ride back in the saddle since July in the Over Handicap (1000m) after being sidelined for six weeks because of a broken wrist.
Rodd had an anxious moment when Definitely Ready ($1.60 fav) jumped slowly from the gates before being squeezed shortly after the start.
â€œI was away at least a half length behind them,â€ Rodd said. â€œI was worried for a second being on the short-priced favourite but he picked up his pace very quickly.â€
The jockey was a passenger as Definitely Ready carved out slick sectionals midrace before opening up a four-length lead at the 300 metres before debutant La Bella Encosta whittled the margin back to 1-3/4 lengths.
â€œHe did it all himself, he was always travelling hard,â€ Rodd said. â€œI didnâ€™t really think he was running those sorts of times.â€
When told Definitely Ready had run 55.02 seconds to break the track record set in 2006 by Poetâ€™s Voice, winning trainer Mark Kavanagh was shocked.
â€œThatâ€™s unbelievable,â€ he said. â€œThey said he was a machine when they sent him over from Adelaide but that time is a real surprise.
â€œHe never showed too much until the blinkers went on but heâ€™s a different horse with the shades on.â€
Kavanagh said he will show his customary patience with the son of More Than Ready, declaring he will not be tempted to tackle the big spring sprints with the three-year-old.
â€œHeâ€™s really only a class two horse,â€ he said. â€œHeâ€™ll have one more, maybe two more runs before he goes for a spell for the autumn.â€
The placings and margins: Definitely Ready (M Rodd) 56kg ($1.60 fav) defeated La Bella Encosta (C Williams) 55kg ($6) by 1-3/4 lengths with two lengths back to Beyond Pardon (N Hall) 55-1/2kg ($11) in third place.
Winnerâ€™s breeding â€“ Definitely Ready is a three-year-old gelding by More Than Ready (USA) out of Defiant (Danehill (USA)).
The time and sectionals â€“ The field covered the 1000 metres in 55.07 seconds with the last 600 run in 32.42 seconds.
Guru Bob ran the fastest last 600 in a time of 32.42 seconds.
What they said â€“ â€œHe just broke their hearts midrace and kept going,â€ said Michael Rodd, winning rider of Definitely Ready.
â€œShe finished off well. Sheâ€™s going to be much better suited at 1200 to 1400 metres,â€ said Craig Williams, rider of La Bella Encosta (2nd).
â€œHe needs 1200 or 1400 so he can travel into the race,â€ said Nick Hall, rider of Beyond Pardon (3rd)
â€œShe needs to go back to her own sex,â€ said Dwayne Dunn, rider of Miss Bellezza (4th).
The market â€“ Definitely Ready opened at $1.40, eased to $1.65 before firming to $1.60. La Bella Encosta was well-supported late, firming from $7 to $5.50. Beyond Pardon eased from $10 to $11.
The market closed at 117 percent.