Flying Award has overcome a slow start to break through for his maiden win and give trainer Danny O’Brien confidence to plan a spring campaign.
The late-season race for two-year-olds has proven a good spring guide.
In 2017 Merchant Navy won and later in the year claimed the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington before winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) at Royal Ascot the following year.
The Peter Snowden-trained Long John won in 2013 before going on to win the Caulfield Guineas.
Patiently ridden by Damien Oliver, Flying Award, the $5 favourite, came widest in the straight to score by neck from Ironedge ($21) with Indictment ($9.50) a long neck away third.
“He gave himself a bit to do but he’s a horse that we really think will be around the mark when we get to the spring, around a mile, mile-and-a-quarter,” O’Brien said.
“He’s got all the right attributes to be a really top class three-year-old and we certainly think that we’d be aiming him at the Caulfield Guineas.
“He’s by a three-year-old that ran well in the Caulfield Guineas and he’s already in front of his dad because he’s won a race as a two-year-old.”
Oliver was impressed with Flying Award’s performance after the colt missed the start.
“It was a slowly run race, but in saying that it probably played into his favour,” Oliver said.
“Irrespective of that it would have been a quite an impressive last 400 metres, I imagine.
“He’s a nice colt and I think he’s going to make an even nicer three-year-old.”
O’Brien and Oliver teamed again in the following race with Naivasha to win the Thank You Front Line Workers Handicap (1600m).