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Andaz and Royal Phoenix couldn't be separated in the first at Flemington
Image: Bruno Cannatelli

Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes was happy to walk away with a share of first prize at Flemington with two-year-old Royal Phoenix.

The Chris Waller-trained Andaz and Royal Phoenix couldn’t be separated at the end of the Eugene Gorman Handicap (1100m) on Saturday.

Hawkes had been defeated by Andaz with another of the stable’s juveniles in a race at Geelong last month.

“Andaz beat me with Wild Heart and I didn’t think there was much between Wild Heart and our bloke today,” Hawkes said.

“He beat us by the narrowest margin at Geelong and I’m glad to have dead-heated today and not run second to him again.

“He didn’t get cover and mind you neither did the other winner but they both fought out to the line.”

In a stirring battle over the final 200m, Royal Phoenix ($11) and Andaz ($9.50) shared the spoils with Evil Cry ($15) a short-neck away third.

Hawkes said it’s never easy to come to Flemington and race down the straight for the first time.

“Even though we train here we don’t get to see the straight too often,” he said.

“He’s done a good job today and I think there’s plenty of improvement to come.”

Johanne Taylor, Waller’s Melbourne representative, said Andaz had made nice improvement from his debut.

But she said things didn’t go Andaz’s way during the race.

“I would have liked to have seen him a little more covered up,” she said.

“He was quite green at his first start so to come out and battle it out to the line today was quite impressive.”

 
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