Assertive Approach has bounced back from a last-start defeat at Flemington with a dominant performance in the Listed Carlyon Stakes at The Valley.
Lining up for only his fifth start on Saturday, Assertive Approach was giving away experience to his five rivals.
It didn’t stop punters backing him into a $2.70 favourite though and after jumping to the front under Dwayne Dunn, Assertive Approach held off Bons Away ($3) by a half-neck with Oak Door ($9) 1-3/4 lengths away third.
Many were critical of Dunn’s ride on Assertive Approach when beaten at Flemington on August 10.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes defended Dunn’s ride saying the jockey had ridden Assertive Approach to instructions, the same instructions that delivered on Saturday.
“The exception was he got beaten the other day and he’s won today,” Hawkes said.
“I’m not much into sectionals, but they showed last time he was low-flying and into a strong head-wind.
“It’s very difficult to win up the straight when you lead. Redzel did it a couple of springs ago but there’s not many horses that do.
“This horse is young and dumb but he’ll be some horse this time next year when he learns what he’s doing.”
Hawkes said the most pleasing aspect of Saturday’s win was the way Assertive Approach came around the corner and extended.
But he said Assertive Approach appeared to lose concentration over the final stages.
“I thought it was a pretty good job,” Hawkes said.
“The second horse has had 26 starts and we’ve only had five.
“He just doesn’t know how to knuckle down and attack the line, then he wanders a bit and that’s what got him beaten the other day.”