The Kelly Schweida trained Batangas Entry took full advantage of a step down in class to take out the QTIS Three-Year-Old colts and geldings Handicap at Doomben on Saturday.
The son of Vancouver was produced at exactly the right time by Jim Byrne, setting up a winning advantage in the first half of the straight which was enough to see off the late charging He Knows by half a length.
Batangas Entry came into the race off the back of unplaced runs in the Listed Gold Edition and the Listed Vo Rogue (won by Isotope and Apache Chase respectively) and he savoured the task. Third-up and racing against lesser opposition proved to be a winning formula on the day.
“Really proud to see this horse bounce back and win,” said trainer Kelly Schweida.
“I still don’t think he is there yet, this horse. He has been in work a fair while. We had him in… then gave him a week off and tried to get him up for the Magic Millions. That didn’t work. We just freshened him up a little bit.
“I thought he was a bit over-priced (Batangas Entry did shorten from $7 to $3.50 at Sportsbet). All of his runs have been pretty good and particularly when they come up with a soft draw it sort of halves your price (the gelding drew barrier 2). If he was barrier 10 or 12, he is probably a $6 or $7 chance.
“We needed to get a suck run and Jimmy (Byrne) gave him that. He was back a bit further than I thought, but I was really pleased with his effort today.
“He has not shown me in the race what he can do at home. He is a lovely horse, very athletic … has a beautiful stride about him, but I think he is still six months away.
“Whether we give him one more now or not …. I’ll speak to the owners about that.”
Jockey Jimmy Byrne added his view.
“It was a really good effort,” said Byrne. “He is just such a big baby … a bit dopey. He floats all the way to the line and it looks like they are picking him up.
‘I just think he is a far better chaser. I actually anticipated being box-seated on him, but he floated out of the barriers … floated along in behind them.
“It wasn’t until they backed it right off at the three (furlong) … which was something I was surprised with … that I just gave him room and let him work into himself … and he did the rest.”