The decision to geld Hattori Hanzo has proved a masterstroke with the Victorian three-year-old continuing his rise through the ranks with a Group Two win at Rosehill.
Since undergoing the operation, the Mick Kent-trained Hattori Hanzo has had four start,s beginning with a third place before stringing three wins together.
Kent’s strategy to choose Saturday’s Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) was based on the lack of suitable races over middle distances at home.
“There’s a lack of mile races at the moment for the three-year-olds and I’ve won this race before,” Kent said.
“He’s a nice horse so we gave him his chance.”
Noel Callow took the chance on Hattori Hanzo ($14) and put him in a more forward positions from barrier six of eight.
Hattori Hanzo and Man Of Choice ($13) fought out a close finish with the margin between the pair a nose.
Callow admitted 56.5kg was at the bottom of his weight range.
“It pulls me up a bit,” he said. “But it was worth it.
“First time around this way when I hit him he shifted pretty hard to the left.
“I switched the whip but it let the second horse get up there. I was rapt he got the bob.”
Man Of Choice’s trainer Luke Price was left wondering what might have been.
“I thought for a moment we had a Group Two win,” he said.
“But it was a great run and he’s shown he can back up.”
The two are likely to clash again in the Tulloch Stakes (2000m) in two weeks.