A brilliant Craig Williams ride got the big boy SAIF (Pride Of Dubai – Little Miss Smiley) home easily in the opening race at Rosehill.
It was the Gr 3 Schweppervescence over 1400m for the 2YOs and he carved it out in a fraction over 1:23, a mere step away from the race record.
Had he found clear air as they turned he would be the proud owner of the race record as he was held up from about 50m once they straightened up.
But, with Williams, showing all his customary guile, he pushed him into the clear and this bloke accelerated brilliantly to run down the well-backed CONVERGE (Frankel – Conversely) who had led and set a solid tempo, with the luckless black-booker GIN MARTINI (Rip Van Winkle – Tanqueray) hitting the line impressively for 3rd.
All three came home along the fence.
Saif, whose previous only win was in a Ballarat maiden, gave notice he was a talented galloper when he was 2nd at Gr 2 level in Melbourne last start.
With the benefit of solid fitness and a rails hugging ride, the big chestnut at $5.60, exploded away to win by just on two lengths.
He cost $290,000 as a yearling and has now won $138,000 from just three starts.
“He’s a lovely horse,” said co-trainer Michael Hawkes after the contest.
“Today, he had the gun run, but he’s still a big baby and learning what it’s all about.
“We’ve taken him race by race because he is very raw. He is going to be a magnificent 3YO,” added Hawkes.
Jockey Craig Williams agreed and said, “you can see his mannerisms getting better with him every run. It was nice to draw gate 1 today.
“He was new and keen in parts of the race but he was soft and did it easy late in the race.”
Gin martini, a filly and a maiden still, flopped out of the gates and gave every a few lengths headstart all the way. Her run was outstanding under the circumstances to grab 3rd.