Talented gelding Benz returned to the races with an impressive victory in the 2017 Ladbrokes Zeditave Stakes at Caulfield this afternoon.
Benz was making his first appearance at the races since he found to fire in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) at Ladbrokes Park on November 12 and the weight of money in the lead-up to the Ladbrokes Zeditave Stakes suggested that he was very forward for his first-up assignment.
Hard Promise and Yulong Yongxing set the early tempo and it was Hard Promise that slipped away from his rivals at the top of the straight, but Benz always travelled like the winner and he finished over the top of his rivals to take out the Ladbrokes Zeditave Stakes.
Shinn got Benz into a lovely rhythm in the early stages of the Ladbrokes Zeditave Stakes, but he was quick to pay credit to the training performance of Gordan Richards and praised him for the victory.
“He jumped and got into a lovely spot there running third,” Shinn said.
“The two in front of me gave me a nice bunny to chase as they set a good tempo in front.
“Gordan Richards has prepared this horse beautifully and got him primed off the back of a nice trial.
“It is a great effort.”
Richards was full of confidence heading into the Ladbrokes Zeditave Stakes, but he admitted after the race that he was slightly concerned when Benz was forced to take the rest of the field up to the tearaway leaders.
The Adelaide-based trainer was clearly pleased to see Benz return to the races as a winner, but he is unsure where his star galloper will head following his Ladbrokes Zeditave Stakes victory.
“He was strong,” Richards said.
“I was a bit worried when he had to do the legwork chasing out after those two tearaway leaders, but he was strong on the line and he put them away.
“I am pretty happy with him.
“I get plenty of advice from the owners (on his race programme), but I will find a race for him.
“He will probably be back here in a couple of weeks.”
Joao Moreira was almost able to pinch the race on Hard Promise and held on for second, while Derryn made up ground late for third.