Grand slam-winning jockey Chris Munce landed his first win in the Group Two Sires’ Produce Stakes aboard crack Queensland colt Sizzling at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Munce, who has won the Golden Slipper, Cox Plate and Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, gave a perfect display on Sizzling ($1.50 fav) who had little trouble disposing of Darley’s Academus ($5) by 1-3/4 lengths in the 1400-metre feature.
Dances On Stars ($13) was only a long neck away third.
“I’ve won Sires’ Produce Stakes in other places but this is my first in Queensland,” Munce said.
“It was a very good win. He’s a good colt and a real athlete.”
Trainer Kelso Wood admitted he was relieved to see Sizzling win and expects the son of Snitzel to be just as dominant when he backs up in the Group One TJ Smith (1600m) at Eagle Farm next Saturday.
“A bit of the pressure is off but there’s still next week,” Wood said.
In an ominous warning for his TJ Smith rivals, Wood declared there was further improvement to come from Sizzling before he’s rested to prepare for the Group One Caulfield Guineas in October.
“He’s got some more improvement in him and he’ll win next week by further,” Wood declared.
Wood had only a few moments of concern with Sizzling in the heavy conditions when Munce elected to drop back further than expected in the middle stages.
“I was a bit worried when another horse got to his outside,” Wood said.
“But he was the best horse in the race.
“He’s such a relaxed horse nothing really worries him.
“He’s more like a six-year-old.”
Wood has only ever trained one Group One winner during his career when Unequalled claimed the Doomben 10,000 in 1993.
He is not concerned about the seven-day back-up for next week’s TJ Smith.
“The back-up won’t worry him one bit and I’m really pleased for his owners,” he said.
“I think you’ll see an even better horse in the spring. He’s got a lot of improvement to come and he’s still growing.”
Trainer Peter Snowden was thrilled with Academus’ effort behind Sizzling.
“His goal all along has been the TJ Smith and he’ll run next week,” Snowden said.
Sizzling will be attempting to become the first Queenslander to win the Sires’ Produce-TJ Smith double since the Alan Bailey-trained Juanmo was successful in 2001.