Ultra-consistent gelding Cabeza De Vaca has upstaged his stablemate Supply and Demand as the Tulloch Lodge duo made successful comebacks to racing at Randwick.
The pair provided co-trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott with a quinella in the Filante Handicap (1400m) on Saturday to mark an encouraging start to their latest campaigns.
Cabeza De Vaca ($15) maintained his impressive record of only finishing outside the top-three once in his 13-start career.
The six-year-old gelding set the tempo with in-form apprentice Rachel King and had a half length in hand over Supply And Demand ($6.50).
Waterhouse and Bott were at Moonee Valley, leaving their apprentice King to reflect on the winner.
“He’s a stayer resuming, he’s better when he gets up over a bit further, that was the slight worry today but he was just too strong for them,” King said.
“They’ve been very patient with this horse, the owners have taken a lot of time and it’s really paid off.”
Godolphin gelding Duca Valentinois ($11) was a half-length back in third while $4.20 favourite Sir Plush was fourth after being trapped three wide for most of the trip.
Hawkes Racing had some consolation following Chautauqua’s late scratching from the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night when Firsthand ($4.80) pipped To Excess ($4.60) by a short head in the TJS Services Handicap (1200m).
“I’ve always had a nice opinion of him and he’s just starting to really come to the fore now,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes said.
In another tight finish the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained $1.90 favourite Stonebrook suffered the first defeat of his five-start career when Passage Of Time finished strongly to claim the McMahons Racecourse Construction Handicap (1400m) by a short neck.
Godolphin horse Interlocuter justified his $1.80 favouritism by winning the AW Edwards Handicap (1800m), three-quarters of a length clear of Black On Gold ($7.50).
“It looked poetry in motion over the last 50 metres,” said Godolphin racing manager Darren Beadman.