The three-year-old carrying the least of Anthony Cummings’ weekend expectations delivered a timely win for the trainer at Warwick Farm on Sunday.
Cummings had hopes for stakes success with Cluster and Drago but he admitted he was left deflated when they were beaten into the minor placings in the Stutt Stakes and Gloaming Stakes respectively.
His outlook didn’t improve midway through the Become An ATC Sponsor Handicap (1600m).
Surge Ahead was trapped on a limb underneath Jason Collett but the gelding underlined his promise to defy a wall of challengers.
“It’s been a tough few days and I had the horrors during the run but I think he has got some spring prospects,” Cummings said.
“Mentally he was a lot tougher today and he did a really good job. When he lengthened he looked very good and it gives you some hope towards the better races.”
Cummings will target a Victoria Derby day feature with the Gooree-owned galloper.
“I’d like to see him in a race like the Carbine Club Stakes,” Cummimgs said.
“But I’d also like him to find his feet slowly and give him another race here before we go to Melbourne.”
Jim Cassidy gave up an important Caulfield ride to help put promising mare Lucky Lago on a course for a dedicated stakes campaign.
Lucky Lago had the steadier of 58kg in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1600m) but Cassidy was able to protect her long-term interests as he safely guided her to a narrow win over Queenstown.
“Jimmy was kind to her and she did enough to win and lay a good foundation for the rest of the carnival,” trainer John O’Shea said.
Cassidy could have ridden Charlie Boy in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude but decided to stay in Sydney out of loyalty to owner Keith Biggs.
Lucky Lago was involved in a blanket finish in the Tibbie Stakes at Newcastle and O’Shea was happy to take advantage of a drop in class before returning the four-year-old to black-type company.
“She is sort of in that little section where she either goes through to top grade races or she carries too much weight in lesser grade,” O’Shea said.
Lucky Lago will have her next start in the Angst Stakes at Randwick on October 5 ahead of a Victorian campaign aimed at the Matriarch Stakes at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.