Jezpark scored a surprising first-up victory at Belmont on Saturday, notwithstanding the son of Bletchley Park’s outstanding juvenile season.
The Ted Martinovich-trained three-year-old won the Supremacy Stakes (1100m)-Perth Stakes double and ran a brave third in the Karrakatta Plate (1200m).
Jezpark warmed up for his return with a trial win over 1000m but with top weight of 59kg and a group of smart rivals he commenced a $6.10 chance.
Silver Trace, with race fitness on her side and an eye-catching second to Shengmu when resuming a fortnight back, was sent out a clear $2.50 favourite.
The Due Sasso filly was sent forward by apprentice Joe Azzopardi but she had to do fair amount of work to find the lead and sustain the pressure.
It proved her downfall as she compounded in the straight to finish seventh of ten and miss a top three placing for the first time in her career.
Jezpark settled fifth for Jarrad Noske and dashed home to hold out the fast-finishing Hold Your Tongue. He saluted the judge a half-length clear.
It was an improved effort from Hold Your Tongue who bounced back after a disappointing previous run. Rule To Wyn ran a solid third.
Ted Martinovich, who believes Jezpark shapes as an ideal WA Guineas (1600m) candidate, was concerned about top weight.
“I know his ability and I know he has a fair bit of courage but I thought 59kg might have been too tough,” Martinovich said.
“I thought Silver Trace would be very hard to beat.
“I was happy when he hit the front and kept fighting.
“It was a courageous performance.”
Molto Allegro ran fourth but can consider herself desperately unlucky after failing to obtain clear passage in the straight.
The powerful force of the Adam Durrant stable was on full display after wins to Recode, Miki Two Toes and Blue Palace.
Recode, as is his wont, was saved for one final sprint, Miki Two Toes, a recent acquisition, relished a strongly run first 600m and Blue Palace worked home strongly from the second half of the field.
Promising stayer Zarantz heads to paddock for a well-deserved spell after notching his fourth consecutive win.
Trainer Lindsey Smith surprisingly said post-race that the Choisir gelding would be aimed at next year’s Geraldton Cup.
David Harrison missed out with Benito who was edged out by Recode in the last stride but he immediately struck back courtesy of Jest Envy Her.
He is getting great reward from the Patronize mare who has found the money in each of her past seven starts.
Settlers Creek shed his unwanted maiden tag and scored first-up when he found the line strongly for jockey Troy Turner.
The Discorsi gelding was resuming after running a luckless sixth to Prentice in the Sires Produce Stakes (1400m).
“His run in the Sires was enormous after he got blocked all the way up the straight,” said trainer, Colin Webster.
“He had the form on the board but it was just a matter if he was fit enough to get the trip.
“There is plenty of improvement left in him.”
Vern Brockman said Kheleva would continue to go through the grades after claiming a hat trick of wins in the last.