Stephen Baster made the most of his only Sandown ride as Kincaple Chief raced into South Australian Derby contention with a breakthrough win.
Kincaple Chief provided the opening leg of a race-to-race double for trainer David Hayes on Wednesday with up-and-coming mare Girl Guide notching her third win in four starts in the TMB Printing Handicap.
Baster was pleased to make his only ride count and rates Kincaple Chief as a horse with upside heading towards stakes races in Adelaide.
“He’s a nice horse on the way up,” Baster said.
Hayes’ stable representative Tom Dabernig said Kincaple Chief was likely to head to the Group Three Chairman’s Stakes (2000m) in Adelaide on April 26 ahead of a potential Group One SA Derby tilt.
“He keeps improving and every run this preparation he has hit the line hard and indicated he was looking for more ground,” Dabernig said.
“He’s a sound, clean-winded horse and he’s a three-year-old so we might as well give him his opportunity.”
Kincaple Chief ($3.90) scored by 1-1/4 lengths in the Premier Signs Plate (1600m) and Dabernig said the key to the gelding had been teaching him to settle.
“We came here today worried about the ground but he’s been able to overcome that so that’s a good sign at this time of year,” he said.
“We can push on to late autumn with a bit more confidence.
“It was only a maiden but he did it in nice style.”
Girl Guide is a older half-sister to talented stablemate Gregers and Dabernig said a patient approach was paying off.
“She broke her wither as a young horse so she didn’t have her first start until she was four,” he said.
Girl Guide was sent out the $2.10 favourite and handled a step up to 1300m easily to win by two lengths.
“We think she’s a Saturday city mare and probably stakes class,” Dabernig said.