Highly Recommended has emulated the success of his glamorous stablemate Black Caviar with a debut win in the Lort Smith Animal Hospital Handicap at Flemington.
Two years ago the same 1000m event was the launching pad for Black Caviar who scored by five lengths and, unbeaten after 12 starts, is rated the world’s best racehorse.
Trained by Peter Moody, Highly Recommended didn’t win with the ease of Black Caviar on Saturday but the stable nonetheless is tipping a big future for the son of Fastnet Rock.
A $235,000 Easter sale yearling, he is a half-brother to Moody’s 2004 Group One Emirates Stakes winner Sky Cuddle and raced on the pace down the centre of the track.
At the 300 metres jockey Noel Callow asked the colt for an effort and he showed his class with a a half-length win over Whitlam and Sammartini.
Moody’s racing manager Jeff O’Connor described the win as “a big plus”.
“We knew he had this kind of ability but we didn’t think we would see it for another run or two or even in the spring,” he said.
“He had a little hiccup five or six months ago, just developing and growing, and it probably cost him any chance of winning any big two-year-old races.
“He has got a big future and we have had a lot of success with the family with Sky Cuddle and (Adelaide’s Group Three Christmas Hcp winner) Sky Love, so hopefully this bloke will keep it going for years to come.”
O’Connor said immediate plans for Highly Recommended were unclear.
“I’m not sure if he will go to Brisbane now or wait and look at the spring,” O’Connor said.
“We might get something more out of him now because he needs to keep learning.”
Highly Recommended was the first city winner for the well-travelled Callow since he resumed riding in Melbourne on March 5.
Callow said Highly Recommended was only going to improve.
“He was a bit like my first day at school when I didn’t know what I was doing, but he went all right,” Callow said.
O’Connor said Callow’s experience was a major benefit to the colt.
“With Noel on him today it helped teach him a lot,” he said.