Epaulette further strengthened the claims of the current three-year-old crop being one of the greatest in modern history with victory in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) in Brisbane today.
Landing his second success at the highest level after winning the Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill in September, today’s triumph was the eleventh individual Group 1 victory by a three-year-old against the older horses this season.
Bouncing back from a seemingly disappointing sixth behind fellow three-year-old All Too Hard last start in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m), trainer Peter Snowden said he blamed himself for the defeat and would be mindful of the lessons learnt in that loss looking towards the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm in a fortnight.
“I might have made the mistake of giving him too much work when backing him up after only two weeks,” Snowden said.
“In saying that it was one of the best races we’ve seen this calendar year, it was just a super race and he was only beaten two and a half lengths against the best company in Australia.
“His best runs have been fresh and I’m very mindful of that, he’s got a dynamic turn of foot when he is fresh and we’ll need to have that with us in a fortnight.”
Settling in a midfield position on the rail, jockey Kerrin McEvoy patiently waited until the top of the straight before deciding to save ground along the inside in the run to the post.
After bursting through a gap at the 100 metre mark to take the lead, Epaulette ($6) charged to the line to score a two length victory over Sea Siren ($17) with the ever-gallant Buffering ($7) a nose away in third position after leading throughout on the hot speed.
Speaking after the victory, McEvoy paid tribute to Snowden’s decision to alter Epaulette’s gear and place a visor on the colt for the first time.
“These visors that Pete (Snowden) decided to put on, the horse welcomed them and so did I because he really let go today,” McEvoy said.
“It was a super run behind Black Caviar first up when he ran second and though he was only beaten a few lengths behind All Too Hard, I was little disappointed with the way he finished it off but today going through the field he really flew.
“It will be interesting to see how he comes through today’s run but I’m looking forward to that race (Stradbroke Handicap) now.”
Favourite Your Song ($3.30) could only manage sixth position four lengths behind the winner, tiring badly after racing near the lead on the back of the hot early tempo.
Story by Ben Asgari