Trainer Mike Moroney has breathed a huge sigh of relief after Hang Man graduated to metropolitan racing with a comfortable win at Sandown.
The lightly raced UK import overcame early buffeting to take out Wednesday’s Ladbrokes Back Yourself Handicap (2400m).
Ridden by Patrick Moloney, Hang Man was the $1.70 favourite before defeating Ancient King ($31) by 1-1/2 lengths, with Midas Man ($14) a nose away third.
Hang Man arrived in Australia late last year after one start at Ascot and has registered three wins in five starts since joining Moroney.
Moroney plans another similar grade race for Hang Man before a heading to Flemington for a rise in grade next month, then a spell.
What impressed Moroney about Wednesday’s victory was how he was able to hold his position after the early buffeting.
“I thought it was a really good ride as he didn’t get any favours,” Moroney said.
“Someone tried to ride him into the fence with a round to go and Patrick didn’t want to go there. He then got in between horses and had to push his way out at the right time.
“The horse is very professional for such a lightly raced horse and his racing brain is very good.”
Moroney said his experience with imported stayers was they usually improved in their second preparations.
“We bought five out and he’s the only one we’ve kept going with,” Moroney said.
“The others have had feet or bone issues settling into our ground but he didn’t.
“He’s flowed right through and looking back at it coming out he’d had the lightest preparation.”