Moonee Valley specialist Sea Lord continued his love affair with the track to give Northern Territory native Stephen Brown his biggest win in the Australia Stakes on Friday night.
Brown set up a Melbourne stable earlier this season and Sea Lord has been a shining light for the trainer’s team highlighted by his victory in the Group Two Australia Stakes (1200m) over favourite Pinwheel.
Brown won two Group Ones during a stint in Macau but Sea Lord’s win was his first Group success in Australia.
Sea Lord ($7.50), unbeaten in his three previous starts at Moonee Valley, took advantage of barrier one to press forward and hold the inside advantage.
It proved the right move as the former Sydney-based sprinter kicked strongly and held off Pinwheel ($2.30) by 1-1/4 lengths after the favourite was awkwardly placed behind the lead before hitting line nicely in the final 100m.
Outlandish Lad ($11) came in a short half-head away third.
“He drew one and the rail was the place to be so I told Luke (Currie) to go forward and try to lead on him,” a delighted Brown said.
“It’s good to have horses like him in the stable. He just keeps getting better.”
Sea Lord was bought as part of a package deal from the David Payne stable which included Winter King and Bushcraft.
Brown admits Winter King is the horse he really wanted but is certainly glad Sea Lord is part of his team.
Having won a Group Two with Sea Lord, Brown is unsure where to next.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“A couple of people have asked me that. I just said, `we’ll wait and see what happens tonight and go from there’.
“I want to keep him to 1200 metres and I only ran him in this because there were no other 1200 metre races for him this month.”
Currie said it was a strong victory and believed the sprinter warranted a the chance of contesting an even better race.
“That was a strong win. Better than his other three here,” Currie said.
Pinwheel’s jockey Vlad Duric said barrier two played against his chances.
“He ended up in a position where he was held up on the turn. When he got out he hit the line nicely,” Duric said.
“He needed an outside draw here where he could build momentum.”