Star Queensland youngster Sizzling has lived up to his name to confirm a Group One winter campaign with a demoralising victory in the Listed Ken Russell Memorial Classic at the Gold Coast.
Backed from $2.50 to start $2 favourite, Sizzling overcame a bungled start to deny trainer Gerald Ryan successive victories in Saturday’s 1200m feature with a 4-1/4 length win over Dances On Stars ($4).
Dansonate, who was specked from $31 to $14, finished a further half length third.
Trainer Kelso Wood has shared in some memorable victories with his recently retired Zero Rock but rated the thrill of Sizzling’s victory as among the best.
“Zero Rock was very close to us because we bred her but this bloke is heading the same direction,” Wood said.
Wood conceded he was concerned when Sizzling was slowly away but had nothing but praise for jockey Chris Munce who maintained his cool under pressure before skirting wide.
“Brilliant. that’s all I can say,” Wood said.
“I was very worried when he was slow away but Chris rode him brilliantly.”
Munce was just as perplexed with Sizzling’s barrier manners but told Wood the son of Snitzel, who had not raced since his fourth in the Magic Millions Classic in January, had more room for improvement.
“He’s just got no early pace,” Munce said.
“He’s all class but he’s very laid back and not a bounce and run type.
“It was a very good win and he was very strong at the finish.”
Sizzling’s finish confirmed Wood was heading down the right path by aiming the colt for the Group One TJ Smith (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 9.
“He’ll run in the Champagne Classic at Doomben next start then go to the Sires’ Produce and T J Smith.” he said.
It’s the same path Ryan plans for Dances On Stars who looked uncomfortable on the heavy track.
“He struggled in the ground but once he got to the outside he looked good,” Ryan said.
“He was racing with his head in the air in the back straight and I thought he’d run 10th coming to the turn.
“Overall it was a good run and his campaign won’t change.”