A traditional lead-up to the Golden Slipper, this year’s Pago Pago Stakes shed little light on the $3.5 million race with the winner Time For War headed in another direction.
Fitted with a barrier blanket, pacifiers and a browband to help counter the problems which caused him to be scratched late at Randwick two weeks ago, Time For War gave Damien Thornton some anxious moments when he veered out in the straight.
But after the 18-year-old managed to get the whip through to his left hand, Time For War ($5.50) held on to beat the favourite Kumaon ($4.20) by a half neck.
It was the second win from two starts for Time For War who will now head to the Kindergarten Stakes in two weeks ahead of a possible Queensland campaign.
“He’s not entered in the Slipper and he still has a lot to learn,” trainer Gerald Ryan said.
“We’ll head to the Kindergarten and if we are going to stretch him up in distance we will do that in Queensland.
“I don’t know if it was the blanket, the pacifiers, the browband or keeping the kid on that made the difference.
“I suspect the latter. Damien rides him every day in trackwork.”
It was the first stakes win for Thornton who transferred to Ryan’s stable last year and was rewarded with the ride in the Group Two race.
“It’s a great thrill,” Thornton said.
“It’s my first black-type win. He’s a tricky horse but he got the job done.”
Trainer Peter Snowden said the runner-up would also miss next week’s Golden Slipper and head to the $1 million Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in two weeks.
Third-placed Klammer, also trained by Ryan, will join his stablemate in the Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) on the same day.