Terravista has claims to the title of the best sprinter in Australia after he scored a narrow win over Chautauqua and Lankan Rupee in the 2014 Darley Classic at Flemington this afternoon.
Lankan Rupee and Buffering set the pace as expected in the early stages of the race, while Terravista and Chautauqua were settled towards the tail of the field before they were asked for an extra effort at the 400 metre mark.
Lankan Rupee kicked away from Buffering at the 250 metre, but Chautauqua and Terravista loomed on the outside; with Terravista too strong for his rival in the final 100 metres to claim a maiden win at Group 1 level.
Jockey Hugh Bowman has had plenty to do with Terravista since he made his racing debut and the leading hoop was delighted to see the Captain Rio gelding finally live up to his potential with a win in the Darley Classic.
“He is a serious horse this,” Bowman said.
“He is such a relaxed horse and Joe and I for the last three or four preparations have been getting ready for miles and Doncaster’s and Epsom’s and things in Sydney, but this time we decided to change it around and Joe in particular said let’s try and make a sprinter out of him.
“You are going to hear a lot more of him and he will be the best sprinter in the country in the autumn,” Bowman said.
“He would always go well early in his preps and he just wasn’t seeing it through and as we stepped him up to 1400 and 1600 he just wasn’t as effective.
“His body shape is different now, he is just such a kind animal and we love him.”
Trainer Joe Pride has always had a large opinion of Terravista and he declared after the five-year-old won the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at Royal Randwick on September 20 that he was the best sprinter in the world.
The leading Sydney trainer admitted after the race that he thought Bowman would settle Terravista much closer to the speed in the early stages of the Darley Classic, but he was quick to pay credit to the ride of the leading hoop.
“He is world class, there is no doubt about that,” Pride said.
“He didn’t have the run that I thought he would have had, I thought he would be a lot closer, and when I saw him back there I can’t say I panicked, but I wasn’t exactly happy with where he was.
“That is why you put blokes like Hughie on and he just judged it to a tee, he came through the guts and when he burst through no one was going to beat him.”
Pride believes that Terravista has only now lived up to his potential as a racehorse, but he is confident that the five-year-old gelding still has plenty of good years in front of him.
A trip to Hong Kong for the International Sprint is not on the agenda for Terravista and Pride said that the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and races like the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) during The Championships would be the next major goal for the talented sprinter.
He is an amazing horse and he is only at the start of his peak,” Pride said.
“He is going to go on for the next few seasons.
“He is a gelding and you sort of have to consider prizemoney with a horse like this.
Today he has got a pretty decent cheque and the Sydney autumn is his next assignment.”
Lankan Rupee was far from disgraced in third place, while Buffering produced a typically game effort in fourth, but leading European sprinter Slade Power missed the start by a length and he was never able to get into the race in the final stages.