Grand campaigner Ecuador has announced his intention to be an autumn carnival player, winning the Listed Carrington Stakes to continue a perfect start to his campaign.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained seven-year-old made it back-to-back wins over 1400m as he took his career prize money past $830,000.
Carrying 61kg, Ecuador got a charmed run with cover behind the leader and sprinted clear to win by 1-1/4 lengths.
While he led markets in the days leading up to the race, Ecuador jumped at $5.50.
Jockey Adam Hyeronimus continued his winning association with the horse and has now been on board for half of Ecuador’s 10 wins.
Shiraz ($6) made an improved effort to run second, confirming trainer Kim Waugh’s belief the seven-year-old has is no longer an out-and-out sprinter.
The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Gold Symphony ($6) ran third.
With Ecuador in rare form, Waterhouse and Bott have been left with the welcome problem of deciding how high to set the bar.
“We might have to up our sights over the autumn,” Bott said.
“Last campaign he had good form around Listed and Group Three races but he was a little bit more exposed when we stepped him up in class.
“Hopefully this time with the right placement we’ll be able to win a nice race with him.”
Ecuador has won stakes races up to 2400m and boasts a Group One placing behind Winx in the 2015 Epsom Handicap (1600m).
Bott said the horse was most effective between 1600m and 2000m but it was hard to knock his two wins at 1400m since returning from a spell.
“He does have that brilliance to be effective over a shorter trip,” Bott said.
“And he does have the stamina to be able sustain that over a strong mile to 2000 metres.”
Newcastle’s Jay Hopkins broke through for his first winner since he started training in August when Got Unders won the Huawei Handicap (1400m).
“It doesn’t get any better does it?” Hopkins said.
Apprentice Nick Heywood celebrated his 21st birthday with the victory, with Got Unders hanging on to stave off late charges from Louie Sea Kay and Imanui.