Underrated galloper Escado led from start to finish to record a fighting victory in the 2015 JRA Cup at Moonee Valley tonight.
A great deal of the speed came out of the JRA Cup when Mujadale was a late scratching and jockey Ben Melham elected to take up the running on Escado in the early stages of the race, while clear favourite The United States was at the tail of the field.
Melham got away with some very cheap sectionals on Escado before he got the Casino Prince gelding going coming around the turn and the tough stayer out plugged Naturalism Stakes winner Magnapal to claim victory in the JRA Cup.
The talented hoop has had a strong association with Escado since he made his racing debut in May of 2012 and he steered him to victory in the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m), so he thrilled to record another race win on a stayer that he believes is underrated.
“His runs have been good this prep,” Melham said.
“He doesn’t corner very well, so I was happy to ride him close to the speed today and we were able to dictate.
“We just stepped it up from the half mile and he was too good.
“He is very underrated this horse, he sort of flies under the radar and he always puts his best foot forward when he gets out to this sort of trip.
“Hopefully there are better races in store for him.”
Escado started the 2015 JRA Cup at a quote of $41 and trainer Matt Laurie admitted after the race that he did not expect his star stayer to take out the Group 3 event.
The 2013 South Australian Derby winner has been included in the nominations for the 2015 Melbourne Cup, but Laurie believes that races like the Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) on October 28 and the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day are more appropriate races for the six-year-old.
“I am a bit speechless to be honest,” Laurie said.
“I didn’t think that he would be winning tonight, I knew that he was in good order, but he is a horse that you do tend to second guess yourself and he does carry a lot of condition.
“It was a great ride from Ben, he summed it up and he was super tough.
“He is nominated for the big races, but I thought that the Bendigo Cup and the Queen Elizabeth would be suitable races for this horse.
“He has managed to pick-up a really good one along the way.”
The United States started the JRA Cup as a clear favourite, but he was never able to get into the race due to the extremely slow early tempo.