A gritty victory by two-year-old Brave Halo at his first race day start at Ascot gave the Sean and Jake Casey stable a second success in the Amelia Park Initial Plate (1000m).

All the pre-race talk leading into the first two-year-old race of the season centered on trainer Simon Miller’s $1.60 favourite Live To Tell after her explosive six length trial victory at Belmont Park.

But Brave Halo, who entered the Amelia Park Initial Plate as a $13.40 hope, defied expectations after he commenced quickly to sit on top of the speed from barrier seven for jockey, Jordan Turner.

Turner had Brave Halo sitting outside of pacesetter Live To Tell and both colt and filly toughed it out in the straight as they went stride for stride with Brave Halo taking out maiden honours by a short neck.

The Trevor Andrews-trained A Few Good Men, the $4.20 second favourite, was a further 3 ¾ lengths away for third.

Sean Casey, who won the Initial Plate with Fatale Femme two years ago, believes there is a bit to take out of Brave Halo’s debut performance.

“He’s a very nuggety little horse, very well put together and very well mannered,” Casey said.

“We nearly gelded him six weeks ago, but he really picked up his game.

“He’s been an absolute gem and could be an exciting horse because of his composure.

“He’s just really easy to work with.”

Turner, who rode Brave Halo for the first time, echoed Casey’s sentiments.

Although there was a big buzz surrounding Live To Tell Turner was confident Brave Halo would run well.

“I was actually pretty confident today,” Turner said.

“I know there was a lot of respect for Simon’s and Trevor’s, they obviously go pretty good, but I thought my horse was a real good chance.

“The horse surprised me by how quick he jumped out, but he’s a true little professional and it was a good win.”

Bought for $135,0000 at the Gold Coast Coast Weaning Sale, Brave Halo won the Initial Plate in 58.08sec.

Julio Santarelli