A head-bobbing finish to the Group Two Gilgai Stakes at Flemington has gone the way of Keen Array to snap a year-long absence from the winner’s circle for the sprinter.
Keen Array ($8) had not won since October last year but continued to rally after sitting on the pace in Saturday’s 1200m straight-track sprint.
He got his head down at the right time on the line to deny Queensland mare Sold For Song by half a head.
Perth sprinter Malibu Style battled on for third, another short head away while favourite Spieth finished.
Co-trainer David Hayes was thrilled to see the multiple stakes winner back in winning form.
The gelding had finished fifth in his past two starts in Listed grade last month.
“He’s been struggling a little bit,” Hayes said.
“He ran well at Moonee Valley two starts ago but I thought he was disappointing last start at Caulfield.
“He just jumped out with the right attitude today. He was wanting to go faster the whole way and he fought hard.
“I actually thought he’d got beaten.”
Trainer Kevin Kemp was thrilled with the first-up run of Sold For Song who is on a path towards the Group One Myer Classic.
Spieth ($2.80) tracked Silent Sedition to the 400m before Corey Brown peeled him into the clear but the five-year-old never threatened in the final 200m.
“We had a nice enough run following the horse I thought was the horse to beat but there was no Spieth of old,” Brown said.
“By the time he got to about the 150 (metres) he’d sort of thrown the white flag up. I don’t know what’s going on because he felt good.
“There’s obviously improvement in him because it wasn’t his grand final today, but he didn’t show anywhere near the talent I know that he’s got.”
Last year’s Newmarket Handicap winner The Quarterback was eased down to finish more than 30 lengths from the winner.
“He’s got issues of some sort,” jockey Matthew Allen said.
“He never travelled and when I asked him to go he went for about 100 metres then his action faltered.”