Steven Baster has continued his affiliation with the New Year’s day meeting at Flemington, capturing the staying feature.
Baster has taken out the feature sprint, the Standish Handicap, three times with his victory aboard Mujadale in the Bagot Handicap (2800m) his first in the Listed race.
Leading throughout, Mujadale ($9) scored a determined short-head win over Danjeu ($3.70 fav) with Trendsetter ($21) three-quarters of a length away third.
The win was soured for Baster when he was fined $500 on a whip-related offence.
“Danjeu got a neck in front so he’s done a good job to fight back,” Baster said.
Mujadale was coming off a last-start second to Tall Ship in the Werribee Cup when Baster said the winner got a break on Mujadale by sprinting too quickly.
“He was coming back on the line and was too good for me on the day, but this race today suited him much better,” he said.
Trainer Paul Jones said while the tracks remained firm he would keep the eight-year-old racing.
He said the gelding has been a great old warhorse for his stable at Stawell in country Victoria.
“He usually wins a race or two for us each preparation,” Jones said.
“He’s been putting in some pretty reasonable efforts but he just hasn’t been having any luck.
“It’s good to see him get some today. He’s deserved it.”
Mujadale ran fourth in the Bagot last year after having better lead-up form with wins in the Ararat and Ballarat Cups.
“This is a nice race to win,” Jones said.
“We thought we could go close last year but there were a couple that went a bit better.
“Things didn’t go our way early in the campaign and he’s just coming to the fore now.”
Jones said he would look to the Moonee Valley Night Cup next month as a suitable assignment for Mujadale.