Three-year-old Holler has upstaged older horses in the Australia Stakes and delivered on a long-range plan in the weight-for-age sprint at Moonee Valley.
The John O’Shea-trained colt sat off the leader Sirbible in Saturday’s Group Two race but took over before the home turn and held off a chasing pack of quality sprinters.
Holler ($4.60), first-up since October, defeated Churchill Dancer ($21) by a length with favourite Rebel Dane ($3.70) a nose away third and Hucklebuck a close fourth.
Holler became the first three-year-old since Black Caviar six years ago to win the race and jockey Craig Williams insists the Godolphin sprinter can figure in anything trainer John O’Shea sets him for.
“John said `trust the horse, he’s a good galloper and I’ve got him ready’,” Williams said.
“I was able to do that and I gave him a kick at the top of the straight and at this level he did a good job to hold off some Group One horses behind him.
“For a three-year-old to beat the older horses at weight-for-age says that he’s in for a nice summer (and) autumn preparation.”
Godolphin’s Melbourne stable representative David Charles said the Australia Stakes had been on the radar since the spring when Holler was a dominant winner against his own age in October at Moonee Valley.
“He was very impressive on Cox Plate day when he won the Red Anchor Stakes and that’s why John had this race in mind coming into the autumn,” Charles said.
“He’s obviously improved since the spring so he’s in for an exciting autumn I’d say on that effort.”
Jockey Dom Tourneur believes Hucklebuck is right on target for the CF Orr Stakes next month after pleasing in his return from knee issues.
“I was really happy with the way he switched off and he probably had enough on the line but we were expecting that,” Tourneur said.
“He’s going to tighten up for the Orr.”
Rebel Dane once again had to settle for a minor placing at Moonee Valley, having placed in two Group Ones at the track.
Trainer Gary Portelli said Rebel Dane was flushed out earlier than intended when the speed wasn’t as fast as anticipated.
But Portelli was still happy with the Group One winner and will press on to the Orr Stakes.