Trainer Grant Williams says there is big upside to Lord Gannicus following his Crown Perth Maiden (1200m) win at Belmont on Wednesday.
The son of Universal Ruler broke through at his second race start after running into promising two-year-old Tiffany Street on debut at Ascot.
After a second to the Dan Morton-trained filly, punters were keen to dive in and he went around as the raging $1.40 market leader.
There were a few anxious moments in running when he got caught wide with no cover, but under Pat Carbery he soon allayed their fears.
Lord Gannicus hit the front inside the final 200m and despite a spirited challenge from Rockon Molly, he fought back to win by a short-neck.
Williams says he has a high opinion of Lord Gannicus and is confident he will furnish into a nice galloper.
“I thought he did a really good job to fight off that horse at the end,” Williams said.
“We’ve always liked him and I would nearly like him to go out, but maybe one more.
“I think he is a nice horse, but at least a prep away.”
Lord Gannicus gave Carbery the first leg of a treble after later wins on Charming Belle and My Boy Eddy.
He said he wasn’t too concerned that Lord Gannicus had to cover extra ground.
“I didn’t expect him to jump as well as he did,” Carbery said.
“I sort of had to ride him like that and just tried to save him as much as I could.
“When we got to the business end he actually dug deep.
“He had the race experience and I think he’ll make a nice horse over further too.”
Williams had further reason to smile when his three-year-old, Colossal, won the Reliable Asset Maintenance Handicap (1200m).
A winner on debut at Pinjarra, the son of Snitzel kept his unbeaten record intact when he burst through down the middle of the track.
With My Marlaina giving a kick out in front, Chris Parnham hooked Colossal to the outside on straightening and the colt responded.
“He’s got a few feet issues that we have to mange, but you don’t mind when he has a motor,” Williams said.
“He has flat feet and we have to keep an eye on him.
“He’s still experienced and we’ve got a lot to look forward to with him.”
A Williams double can set the tone for Saturday with Rokanori’s Belmont Guineas campaign kicking off in The Byron Bay Premium Lager Handicap (1200m).
The son of Awesome Rock won his first three starts including the J.C.Roberts Stakes (1800m) before ending his maiden campaign with a fifth in the Melvista (2200m).
Warming up with a trial second, Rokanori meets a hot field first up with It’sarayday, Champion Fillies winner, Searchin’ Roc’s, Liwa and Timely Outburst worthy rivals.
“He’s in a really good spot and has a test first up,” Williams said.
“There are some really nice ones in that.
“It won’t be easy, but we are happy with where he’s at and his trial was good without asking him to do too much.”
After Saturday Rokanori will progress to the Raconteur Stakes (1500m) before the Belmont Guineas (1600m).