Battle Hero continued his rejuvenated form under trainer Chris Gangemi when he set a weight-carrying record to win the Listed Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Battle Hero claimed the third leg of a feature race double after earlier wins in the Summer Scorcher (1000m) on New Year’s Day and the Pinjarra Classic (1300m) a fortnight back.
Battle Hero, who has won three races and been placed twice from six starts since joining Gangemi’s stables, was bought for $60,000 at the Perth winter sale last year.
The Stratum six-year-old launched a big day out for Gangemi after Jingtang, ridden by Shaun McGruddy, sped to victory in the Bonaire Evap Cooling Handicap (1000m).
Jingtang’s fifth win from 24 starts ended a memorable afternoon for Gangemi after their star Rock Magic ran a competitive fourth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
Battle Hero, ridden by Jarrad Noske, never looked in danger of defeat, leading throughout to score by an easy 2 ¼ lengths. Royal Missile edged out Infathuated for second.
“I was confident he would give me a good kick like he always does,” said Noske.
“I thought the horses with the light weight would be flashing home late, but he held them off good.”
Meanwhile Miracle Man boosted his WA Derby (2400m) prospects when he scored an impressive victory in the Listed Lex Piper Stakes (1600m).
The Adam Durrant-trained gelding, ridden positively by Peter Knuckey, poured pressure on the leader and fought on strongly to win by ¾ of a length.
Favourite Action and Media Baron battled for second and third respectively.
Miracle Man handed Knuckey his second success in the Lex Piper Stakes after piloting Yabigorse when it was named the TJ Smith Trophy.
Foreman Jason Miller, deputising for Durrant, said the addition of blinkers aided Miracle Man, who was on the quick back-up after running fifth to Nelson’s Flight last week.
Miller said Miracle Man would next run in the Roberts Stakes (1800m) in two weeks as he builds momentum towards the WA Derby on April 21.
Earlier in race one Durrant unveiled a second Karrakatta Plate contender when Magic Planet won the Mouritz Blitz Plate (1100m).
Given a top ride from William Pike, Magic Planet had cover behind the leader and once he gained a clear run he charged home to score by a half-length.
First starter Lordhelpmerun and Bam’s On Fire, were both slow out of the gates, but ran on strongly from the tail of the field to finish second and third respectively
First Strike, on debut for trainer Simon Miller, ran fourth, but the $2.90 favourite had a difficult task after racing wide throughout.
Magic Planet, a $26,000 yearling, showed natural improvement after running sixth to Party Night when first up last month.
“He had excuses and probably his fitness told 200m out first-up, but he improved and went well, said Durrant foreman, Jason Miller.
“That’s all you can do is improve and the more racing he does the better he should get.”
Durrant’s juvenile team is building momentum ahead of the Group 2 Karrakatta Plate (1200m), WA’s richest race for two-year-olds on April 14.
Magic Planet joined stable mates Assetro and Kiss The Breeze as Durrant’s previous two-year-winners this season.
Assetro has looked exciting in winning two of her three races and is labelled by Durrant as the best horse he has put a saddle on.
Kiss The Breeze was also impressive in her two victories, but is out of Karrakatta Plate calculations after pulling up shin sore from the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at Pinjarra.