Consistent galloper Man Booker has recorded his fourth Listed race win in this afternoon’s Farnley Stakes (1400m) at Belmont Park.
The six-year-old returned in impressive fashion last start when second to Rebel King in the Idyllic Prince Stakes a fortnight ago, a performance which suggested he would be hard to beat today.
Veteran sprinter Dream Lifter put the pressure on early to take the lead ahead of War God, as Man Booker’s jockey William Pike elected to take a sit behind the leading pair.
Pike was intent on getting off the fence prior to the home straight and moved up on the outside of the leaders to put the pressure on.
Man Booker hit the front 200m out from home and then kicked away at the 100m pole to record a three and three-quarter length victory.
Trainer Dan Morton said he was confident but cautious about the gelding’s prospects in the Listed race.
“You go into these small fields, he drew one with a big weight and being a handicap, there were a few things against him,” he said.
“We were really buoyed by his effort last start and it looks like we’ve got him back where we should him.”
Morton said he would likely now give Man Booker a short break before the Ascot carnival, which is likely to include a shot at the Group 1 Railway Stakes on November 24.
“We’ve always thought he’s a Railway type of horse,” he said.
“He runs a good mile, so I’d love to win the mile.”
Man Booker’s next start will be in the Group 3 Northerly Stakes (1400m) on October 20.
Meanwhile, Great Again has enhanced his credentials for feature races over the next month, following a strong win in the Crown Towers Handicap (1400m).
Great Again was given a rails-hugging ride by jockey Mitch Pateman, settling behind the leader New Time.
The gelding got a slice of luck when New Time drifted off the rails and Pateman was able to capitalise on the gap that opened, going on to win half a length over Settler’s Creek.
Trainer Lindsey Smith said he now had to work out whether to aim Great Again at the Hannan’s, or at some of the feature races at the Ascot carnival.
Smith will start the in-form Reykjavik in the Kambalda Cup (1400m) next Sunday and would then determine whether to start him or Great Again in the Goldfields sprint feature.
“I haven’t had much luck in the Hannan’s, but you have to keep trying,” he said.
“If he keeps ticking along, I might set him (Great Again) for the R.J. Peters Stakes.
“Reykjavik will run in the Kambalda Cup next week and if he handles the track he will go in the Hannan’s.”
Elsewhere at Belmont, Jarrad Noske has ridden Lockroy to victory in the Purslowe & Chipper Funeral Handicap (1000m), his first ride since returning from a Broome holiday.
Noske had his last metropolitan ride in June and rode Lockroy at 60kg this afternoon as he eases his way back into regular riding.