Toowoomba sprinter Listen Son earned a shot at the Doomben Summer Series with a thrilling victory in the Listed Keith Noud Quality at Eagle Farm.
Listen Son, who is called “Moose” around trainer Tony Gollan’s stables, led all the way to win a bob-of-the-head finish by a nose over the Rob Heathcote-trained Excellantes in Saturday’s 1200m feature.
Essington, who was having his first start since winning the Listed Ascot Handicap at Eagle Farm in July, was a further length away third.
“We call him Moose because he was a big hairy thing as a three-year-old,” Gollan said.
Gollan had planned for Listen Son to travel off the speed in third place but jockey Scott Seamer summed up the situation perfectly and had no hesitation to lead after the five-year-old jumped in front from barrier one.
“Excellantes actually got a head in front of me about 100 metres out so I reverted back to hands and heels and he dug deep,” Seamer said.
Listen Son finished sixth, less than four lengths from the winner Sincero in the Group One Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June which enticed Gollan to take the son of Big Jesse to Melbourne in the spring.
However, Listen Son stunned Gollan when he finished last to Queenslander Woorim in the Group Three TAB.com.au Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on October 29.
“He was very disappointing in Melbourne and I still don’t know why,” Gollan said.
“Today was a big question mark for us. I came to the races and didn’t know what to expect from him.
“He fights hard whenever he’s in that type of situation and he’ll go to the Summer Series races now.”
The series begins with the Group Three George Moore Stakes (1200m) in a fortnight.
Gollan was initially disappointed with stablemate’s Spirit Of Boom’s effort to finish ninth, just over four lengths away but was reassured after talking with jockey Ric McMahon.
“I’ve spoke to Ric and he wasn’t disappointed at all. He reckons he’s run home the fastest last 400 metres better than anything else,” Gollan said.
Spirit Of Boom is also headed to the George Moore Stakes and didn’t harm his chances of heading across the Tasman for the Group One Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on January 1 and Group One Telegraph Handicap (1200m) at Trentham on January 21.
Heathcote was frustrated to see Excellantes go down in the tight finish.
He was forced to scratch stablemate Work The Room after the sprinter bowed a tendon in trackwork at Eagle Farm last Tuesday.
Work The Room’s future is in grave doubt.