Trainer John Price has high hopes for William Thomas after his impressive return to racing at Sandown.
William Thomas was heavily backed from $3.20 to $2.45 favouritism before winning Monday’s Ladbrokes Handicap (1000m) under Damian Lane.
After racing behind the speed set by Girls Got Spirit, William Thomas exploded to the front 200m from home, winning by 1-1/4 lengths from Seven Year Reward ($11) with Wilde Gem ($31) a short-neck away third.
Price said William Thomas was difficult to train but slowly improving his manners.
“He’s possessed with a lot of ability but we’ve got to tune him up to get that extra furlong, or that extra two furlongs, on what he got today,” Price said.
“But he’s going in the right direction.
“The more we work on him and the more racing he has the less overawed he will be.
“He is quite a calm horse in himself, but because he can run he can get up there and get himself into trouble.”
“We’ve exercised on the side of caution with him because we know he’s blessed with ability.
“Now we’ve just got to keep building the blocks with him.”
Price has picked out a 1200m three-year-old race at Caulfield on April 14 as a likely next assignment with a possible trip to Adelaide for the Group Two Euclase Stakes at Morphettville next month.
He said 1200m at Caulfield should suit as the gelding would be able to switch off.
“I think it’s more about settling and learning how to race as to where the improvement will come from,” Price said.
Lane was impressed with the three-year-old who gave him the second leg of a double after his earlier win aboard Winkelmann in the Clanbrooke Racing Handicap.
He said he had done a lot of work on tWilliam Thomas before his campaign last spring.
“He’s been a work in progress and it’s good to get him here to a midweek and see he’s on the right path,” Lane said.
“He’s a pretty smart horse but it was always going to be getting his head right and now he’s finally starting to look as though he’s getting there.”