Such is his opinion of Excused, Lindsay Park co-trainer Ben Hayes admits he was nervous leading into the two-year-old filly’s debut at Sandown.
But Excused delivered what Hayes expected in Wednesday’s Yulong Handicap (1000m), racing to victory on a heavy track.
“I was nervous,” Hayes said.
“I knew she was good. I just wanted to see her do it.
“I reckon she can be competing in the top three-year-old races in the spring.”
Excused, the $3.40 favourite, cruised up in the straight under Craig Williams to hit the front 300m from home and drew well clear before fellow debutante Indiscretion ($6.50) came from back in the field to reduce the margin to three-quarters of a length.
Maozi ($5) was another two lengths away third.
Hayes, who trains in partnership with his father David Hayes and cousin Tom Dabernig, said Excused, was likely to have a short break with a spring campaign in mind.
“At home she has always shown us really nice ability,” he said.
“We were expecting her to win today and it was really encouraging to see how she did it.
“It was a really good effort. She had no favours. She was wide the whole trip but the way she hit the line was excellent. So we’re thrilled.
“She’s got lovely length and she’s still got plenty more improvement to come.
“We actually think she will be a lot better once we get her out over further so she’s a really exciting horse.”