Peter Moody’s decision to avoid Sepoy with Golden Archer paid dividends when the tenacious colt claimed the $125,000 Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
The son of Rock Gibraltar, who finished second to the superstar Golden Slipper winner after a wide first-up run in the Vain Stakes, bounced back to prove too speedy for his rivals in the 1200-metre McNeil and make it six wins from nine starts.
“You’d love a stable full of them,” Moody said of Golden Archer post-race. “That was how we hoped things to pan out the other day, but Sepoy brought him undone. I was happy to see him not here and happy to take the spoils.
“He’s done very little wrong throughout his career. I thought he should have run a clear second the other day to Sepoy, that form’s superior to this and he showed that today.”
Golden Archer overcame the second-widest starting position and having to spot most of his nine rivals weight to lead from start to finish.
Jockey Luke Nolen was able to stack the field up shortly after finding the fence after 400m before slipping clear at the top of the straight. Golden Archer ($3.90) had opened a three-length advantage by the 250m and while he got a little tired late he still had 1.8 lengths to spare on the line.
Cross Of Gold ($26), whose only previously start produced a Geelong Synthetic win, finished powerfully from the rear to grab second, a neck in advance of Vatican ($41).
Golden Archer’s stablemate Metonymy, who was heavily backed to start $3.70 favourite, raced outside the leader but was beaten before straightening and had to settle for sixth, one spot behind the Bart Cummings-trained Do You Think ($7.50) who did his best work late.
“I found my spot pretty comfortably, quickened up just before straightening and showed them a clean pair of heels,” Nolen said. “He got a little bit tired late but he’s a lot grosser this time in so he might have been just open to the little bit of improvement.”
Moody will now step Golden Archer up to 1400m, after which a decision will be made on whether he goes on to The Age Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on 8 October or reverts to the sprint trips.
“We’ve probably got to take him to 1400 to have a feel,” he said. “Whether that’s in a Guineas Prelude or the old Show Day Cup (Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes) in open company (I don’t know).
“Something like that just to see if we go down the Guineas path or we can come back and even butt heads with Sepoy again in something like the Manikato (Stakes, Moonee Valley, Sept 30) at weight-for-age.”
Golden Archer’s win was the middle pin of a Moody-Nolen hat-trick, having seen Testascana make it four-straight wins in the $100,000 Listed National Jockeys Celebration Day Stakes (1700m) before combining with King’s Rose to win the day’s feature, the $200,000 Group 2 Memsie Stakes.