Handsome Thief could be headed north for the Brisbane winter carnival after his come-from-behind win in the Wangoom Handicap at Warrnambool.
The feature sprint on the middle day of the three-day carnival gave trainer Darren Weir the quinella in the 1200m Listed race for the second successive year.
Under Dean Yendall, Handsome Thief was sent out the $2.90 favourite in beating Stellar Collision ($9) by a half-length with Bassett ($17) a long neck away third.
Weir also saddled Ozi Choice (fifth) and last year’s winner Ulmann (sixth).
The leading trainer said the 5.5kg weight difference between the winner and runner-up was telling in denying Stellar Collision a Wangoom win after finishing fifth and second in previous years.
“Under the circumstances the weight’s won the race late,” Weir said.
“Dean was able to ride him well and get to the right spot.
“All horses ran well and they’re all in for good winter campaigns.”
Handsome Thief is owned by Paul Fudge’s Waratah Thoroughbreds who claimed their second feature Warrnambool win having won the Cup with Master Of Arts in 2016.
“They invest a lot of money in racing so it’s good to get a feature win here at the carnival,” Weir said.
“Warrnambool is a good spot for them.”
Handsome Thief is among entries for the Group One Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben in June.
“He might be a fluking sort of chance in a Stradbroke with no weight,” Weir said.
“He’s not a simple horse. He didn’t run well in Adelaide and today he only had to come from the stables here on course.
“Maybe he doesn’t like the travel so we might have to take that into account.”
Stellar Collision will head to Adelaide for the Group One Goodwood on May 19.
Weir and Jarrod McLean, in charge of the Warrnambool base, joked they would have liked the result swapped.
“Jarrod’s heartbroken, he’s got a soft spot for the horse,” Weir said.
“I’ve got a soft spot for him also and I’ve got a share in him too.”