The Darren Weir trained Hellbent was on his best behaviour before storming home to win the Group 1 $500,000 Keogh Homes William Reid Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on Friday night.
Winning jockey Craig Williams kept his unbeaten record on Hellbent intact and made it two from two after the pair combined for a win at Caulfield in September 2016.
Hellbent had been knocking on the door for a Group 1 victory with a second in last year’s William Reid Stakes behind Silent Sedition as well as a third to Russian Revolution two starts back in the Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 24 a month ago.
“The owners have let us put him where we’ve wanted to and there’s been a little bit of frustration there, but finally we’ve got the result that the horse deserves,” Weir said.
“He’ll find a home now, hopefully up at Yarraman. He’s an I Am Invincible colt, a beautiful looking horse with lots of ability, so he’s got plenty of things going for him.”
Hellbent is now guaranteed a stud career at part owner’s Yarraman Park Stud and Weir said he was expecting a big performance from Hellbent after the five year old was exceptionally well behaved before and during his saddling up for the race.
“Tonight he was in the best mood he’s ever been in,” Weir said.
“We found a spot out the back that he was happy in, just looking at the wall, so the strapper didn’t have much of a night.
“But he stood there for three hours just looking at the wall and the horse wasn’t doing anything wrong, so I just said, ‘leave him there’, so full credit to Nick.
“He saddled up great – he’s normally very hard to saddle – so he was just in a better mood all round and obviously raced great.”
Hellbent was sent out at the good odds of $10 and sustained a long from the back of the field before going wide on the home turn before charging to the line to overhaul the leader Thronum ($8).
Thronum’s Lindsay Park stablemate Catchy ($15) also settled back in the field and was doing her best work at the finish to claim third place.
Damien Oliver settled Secret Agenda outside the leader but the $5.50 favourite wilted in the straight to finish ninth, six and three quarter lengths behind the winner.