Trainer Brett Wilkinson has brought up his first metropolitan winner, with Comes A Time taking out the TABtouch-Better Your Bet Plate (1000m) at Belmont this afternoon.
The Sessions gelding was having his first race start this afternoon, off the back of just one trial at Belmont earlier this month behind Holy Ghost.
Jockey Shaun O’Donnell settled behind race leader and favourite Holy Ghost in running, while the well-fancied Amelia Bedelia was outside the leader.
Comes A Time loomed into the race ominously in the final 200m and eventually got past Holy Ghost to win by a nose.
Wilkinson said he had an inkling the gelding would be competitive following the trial, but was hesitant about racing him off just one hit out.
“He’s done well today, it was a good win,” he told The Races WA.
“The most impressive part was the way he came up the fence and in between them.
“He did do that in his trial, but until you get to raceday under pressure you just don’t know how they’re going to be.
“Originally we were going to trial him and tip him out, but he trialled so well and pulled up so well after the trial.
“We thought we better come to the races.”
Wilkinson said he had a high opinion of Comes A Time and indicated he would likely step the galloper up in distance and to Saturday company next start.
It was just the second horse Wilkinson had raced in the metropolitan area, the only other runner being Mouquet, who finished third in the Group 3 La Trice Classic (1800m) earlier this year.
In-form apprentice jockey Brodie Kirby also recorded a winning double in the first half of the Ascot meeting, scoring aboard Okina Kuri and Rebel Yell.
The Lou Luciani-trained Rebel Yell was heavily supported in betting and had to call upon all his reserves to score by a long head in the Betty Loxton Handicap (1000m).
Kirby gave Rebel Yell, a last start fourth in the Listed Breeders Stakes (1400m) at Bunbury, a perfect ride throughout, but needed all of the straight to wear down Fair Joy.
Nocelle, having her first start since last year’s WA Sires Produce Stakes (1400m), finished a game second.
Okina Kuri, trained by Vern Brockman broke through for his first win at his 10th race start in this afternoon’s Women Of The Goldfields Maiden (1000m).