Trainer Tony McEvoy had put his promising three-year-old Iconic to the test in five races in three states before Saturday’s Nine West Handicap at Caulfield without forming a solid opinion of the horse.
But Iconic’s effort to produce the turn of foot that carried him to the third and most convincing win of his career has allowed McEvoy to plan a spring campaign.
“I wasn’t sure which way we’d go,” he said.
“But I’m now convinced he’s not a Guineas horse – we’ll keep him to sprinting.
“I’ve learned a lot about him today.”
As much as McEvoy may have learned about Iconic, winning jockey Damien Oliver was ahead of him.
Oliver had asked McEvoy for permission to ride Iconic more quietly than at the gelding’s previous few runs, a tactic that made all the difference.
“Damien did his form well,” McEvoy said.
“He came to me before the race with a plan that I agreed with – it just shows what you get with these top riders.”
Oliver dropped Iconic ($14) out to last and swooped on the leaders in the final 150m to score by a half length from the favourite Villa Verde ($3.60).
The Queenslander Whiskey Allround ($7) held third, a further 3-1/2 lengths away.
McEvoy will run Iconic in the Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in three weeks followed by the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Derby Day.