The best two-year-olds proved too good for Bass Strait this time last year.
But the passing of time, the acquisition of some better manners and a Sandown victory on Wednesday have encouraged trainer David Hayes to consider tackling this season’s better three-year-olds.
Bass Strait had only two runs in his first preparation, the second of them resulting in a distant eighth behind All Too Hard in the Talindert Stakes at Flemington last February.
Hayes took Bass Strait back to “school” at his Euroa training base and he returned a better-behaved and much improved galloper to win first-up at Seymour last month.
“He was a nervous wreck last time in, but now he’s got his mind in the right place,” said Hayes’ foreman Bruno Rouge-Serret.
“But he’s still running on raw ability, there’s more to come.”
Stepping up to city, mid-week class, Bass Strait showed even more improvement to score impressively in the Sportingbet Handicap (1600m), leaving connections contemplating a Sydney autumn campaign.
“The Rosehill Guineas would probably be at the top limit of his ability,” said Rouge-Serret.
“He’ll go back to the farm and David will look at the races available and he’ll decide what level to pitch him at.
“But the thing is, this was the result we wanted today to get us into the better races.”
Bass Strait ($5.50) came from midfield to score by a half length from Beaumaris ($7.50) with a further three-quarters of a length to Usurper ($21) in third place.