DENIS Daffy started the new racing season on a positive note last Thursday.
The Camperdown trainer was in the winners’ stall at Warrnambool after his five year-old gelding Fabian’s Spirit scored a victory in a benchmark 64 handicap over 1200 metres.
Daffy said he was “pleased” to start the new season with a win after he and the horse’s owners Harriet Place and Cliff Justin decided to race the gelding off a six day turnaround.
The horse finished second first up off a three month spell at Geelong after a lengthy preparation of fitness work.
“He’d been in work for a while but we had just been trying to find the right race for him,” Daffy said.
“Because we haven’t been able to trial him and we haven’t been able to get on a track for a gallop, we took him to Geelong to give him a good hard gallop (first up).
“That’s why I decided to back him up six days after because I knew he was hard fit and needed a good gallop down there.”
The race unfolded perfectly for Fabian’s Spirit, with jockey Samuel Payne positioning the horse towards the tail of the field.
The pair remained there rounding the home corner but struck trouble momentarily as a wall of horses blocked a number of runs.
Quick thinking from Payne saw him weave a path through the wall of horses, with the pair chasing down to win the event in the last 50 metres.
Daffy praised Payne for the ride and also noted Fabian’s Spirit had improved its racing style.
“His last prep he was just getting too far back,” he said.
“He was missing the kick a lot and had to make up a lot of ground so we tried to race him a bit more handy.
“He’s getting out a lot better. He didn’t have to make up too much ground but he hung in for a while.
“It was a beautiful ride, he was hemmed in at one stage and we thought we might be a bit unlucky but once he saw daylight he came home very well.”
The win improved Fabian’s Spirit’s career ledger to five wins and nine placings from 23 starts.
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