Four-time Golden Slipper-winning trainer Clarry Conners is off and running with his new season two-year-olds after the speedy Assail outsped her rivals at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
Conners, who trained Dear Demi to win Thursday’s Group One VRC Oaks, was in Melbourne for Emirates Stakes day but would have been delighted to see Assail get the job done on debut on her home track.
The daughter of Charge Forward was heavily backed late to start favourite at $2.70 in the Fonterra Foodservice Handicap (1000m) and despite racing further forward than expected, she held off the early favourite In Cahoots ($3.20) by a length.
They spaced their rivals with Chilly Prediction ($19) leading in the chasing pack five lengths away third.
“Things didn’t go to plan in the race,” Conners’s son Marc said.
“We weren’t supposed to be where we were in the race but the filly showed great fight at the finish for her first start and I’m sure she’s got a bright future.”
Marc Conners, himself a Warwick Farm trainer, said his father had been in two minds whether to kick off the filly’s career in Saturday’s race.
“But it was her home track, there wasn’t a big field and he thought he’d take the punt and run her and it’s paid off,” he said.
“She’s a ready-made racehorse. There’s not a lot of her but she’s just a ball of muscle.”
The plan was for the filly to take a sit during the run but apprentice Anthony Allen said after he looked to slot in and failed, he elected to let the youngster slide forward.
“She’s still green but she seems like she’s a smart filly,” Allen said.
In Cahoots went into the event as the only runner with race experience but wasn’t able to peg back the winner in the straight.
“They went pretty quick and the winner was just a fraction better on the day,” In Cahoot’s rider Blake Shinn said.
“He’s a promising horse with a lot of upside.”