Well-bred youngster Leviathan may have snuck under the guard of punters on debut but his victory came as no surprise to his trainers, who are hoping for a repeat result at Randwick.
Leviathan was sent out a $16 chance in a Kensington maiden earlier this month and after enjoying a cosy run behind the speed, he dashed to a dominant win.
Paul Snowden, who trains in partnership with his father Peter, said Leviathan had been a work in progress but a gelding procedure and the addition of blinkers had helped the two-year-old put his mind on the job.
“He’s always been a horse with ability. He’s just a slow-maturing type,” Snowden said.
“In six months time, hopefully you’re going to see a nice horse.
“He was cut early because he had a poor attitude and that will get the best out of him now.”
With Big Parade scratched, Leviathan will have six opponents in the ATC Heritage Volunteers Handicap (1200m) including the highly-touted Funstar, a half sister to Group One winner Youngstar.
Making the race more intriguing is the probability of a wet track with Randwick rated heavy Friday.
Only two of the runners – Switched and War Baron – have experience on heavy ground and while Leviathan scored on a slow surface, Snowden is not sure how he will get through more testing conditions.
The stable’s Randwick contingent also includes Napoleon Solo who returns to Sydney racing after failing to run out a strong 2200 metres in the Grand Prix Stakes at Doomben.
He drops back in distance for the Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Mile (1600m) and has won on rain-affected ground.
“It’s more or less about getting him back on track and seeing where he’s at because, while we didn’t aim the bar too high, we probably went beyond his distance range,” Snowden said.
“He’s working fine and he looks great, the horse. He’s very well within himself and he’s handled the (wet) conditions prior.”
Stablemate Island Missile lines up in the same race while Snowden said Charretera, early favourite for the Hyland EOFY Sale Handicap, is unlikely to run if the track remains heavy.