Caulfield-based Acatour is set for another cross-border incursion after a strategic triumph on his “D-Day” secured the Group Three Carbine Club Stakes at Randwick.
Co-trainer Peter Snowden confessed the talented colt was headed for a vet check had he not performed on the opening day of The Championships, but now the three-year-old looks forward to his first Brisbane run in June’s Queensland Guineas.
Acatour put issues over his fitness to rest on Saturday with a commanding finish to the Carbine (1600m), powering clear over the last 100m to score 3-1/4 lengths clear of Theanswermyfriend, the $2.40 favourite.
Veladero ($21) led into the straight but had to settle for third, half a head further back.
With Blake Shinn aboard, Acatour ($10) improved from third at the 400m mark to finally satisfy Snowden following a disappointing eighth in the Randwick Guineas on March 4.
“He’s always been a talented horse. It’s been frustrating not to see him kick a goal before this,” Snowden said.
“I honestly thought he was a Doncaster (Mile) horse but the first couple of runs this time in poured cold water on that.”
Snowden would not rule out Acatour lining up again in Sydney’s autumn carnival but his preference was the Group Two Queensland Guineas on June 10.
The Group One $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap is the feature on that card at Eagle Farm but Snowden said the 1400m distance was shorter than required.
“This might be his right trip a mile to 1800 metres. The Straddie is too short,” he said.
Rather than look too far down the track, Snowden was happy for Acatour register his fourth win from nine career starts after he struggled in this preparation in the Hobartville Stakes and Randwick Guineas.
“It’s just good to see him to get back to form and win as well as he did.
“His work has been outstanding. If he didn’t run well today I’d have put him back down again because there must be something wrong with him.
“It was D-Day today for him, really. He really had to stand up.”