Hell I Am was his own worst enemy at his initial preparation but on his best behaviour at Canterbury, the John O’Shea-trained juvenile showcased his class to post a determined win.
A luckless fifth on debut in the Wyong Magic Millions in December, the son of Hellbent showed talent from the outset but at other times cost himself a winning chance by racing fiercely.
There was no sign of that at Canterbury on Thursday with Hell I Am settling well for Hugh Bowman outside the lead.
While he took a while to shake off frontrunner and eventual third placegetter Moscow Night ($4.40), Hell I Am ($2.25 fav) pulled away over the final stages to capture The Agency Plate (1100m) by a length over The Lions’ Gate ($15), who ran on resolutely for second.
Bowman has been part of the two-year-old’s journey from the start and said the improvement he had made from his first campaign to his second was significant.
“He has made a lot of improvement mentally,” Bowman said.
“He was a bit of a handful before and really didn’t give himself a chance to show what he is capable of but this afternoon, he was well behaved before the race and did everything right in the race.
“He’s got some talent and he showed it today.”
The meeting had been scheduled for Warwick Farm on Wednesday but was shifted back a day and moved to Canterbury due to Sydney’s wet weather.
It went ahead on a heavy 10 surface and Bowman felt that rating was kind.
“I don’t think 10 is enough. It’s pretty deep,” he said.
Godolphin unveiled a smart filly at the meeting in Vientiane, who did a good job to plough through the conditions and win her first start in the Bowermans Plate (1100m) off just one recent trial.
Stable representative Darren Beadman praised jockey Jason Collett for helping the lightly-framed Lonhro filly travel through the testing ground, ranking him as one of the best wet weather jockeys in Sydney.
“It gives you a lot of confidence when you’ve got Jase on these types of horses that need a little bit of help through the ground,” Beadman said.
“He is a very good rider in the wet and he gives them the confidence that they need.”