Trainer Robbie Laing has maintained his impressive strike rate in early-season juvenile races with the win of Direct Charge in the Group Three Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) at Flemington.
The most experienced runner in the field, Direct Charge ($18) fought off two challenges, finally outlasting the equal favourite Crack A Roadie ($4.20) to score by a half-head.
“I’ve won a two-year-old race at the Melbourne Cup carnival for three of the past four years,” Laing said.
“Not bad for a jumps trainer.”
Direct Charge had been just behind the placegetters at his first two starts and showed great speed down the straight course to lead almost every step of the way.
The winner was only headed when third placegetter Shamus Award edged clear inside the 200m, but he fought back to score narrowly.
Laing bought the horse at the Inglis sale in Melbourne earlier this year and he will set him for the rich series of races sponsored by the sales company.
“I wouldn’t be too sure about Blue Diamonds and Golden Slippers, but the Inglis race has a bit of money on offer for horses they sell,” he said.
While he is renowned as a trainer of jumpers, Laing said he enjoyed preparing two-year-olds.
“They’re easy – most of them are shinsore at this time of year,” he said.
“If you keep the weight of their backs and keep them fresh you can win a few races.”