Even though Bantam only scored by a narrow margin at Moonee Valley last Saturday, he will now be given a short ease up before being prepared for the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 28.
The John O’Shea trained Bantam had to do it tough in front when attacked for the lead in the early stages of the $80,000 ADAPT Australia Handicap (1000m).
And after leading the field into the straight was headed by runner up Miss Idyllic before fighting back under hard riding from Chad Schofield to get the judge’s nod in a head bobbing finish.
“Although we only one by a small margin the win was softer than it looked,” Schofield said.
“We got driven mad by a few out wide, but once the race sorted itself out he came back on the bridle.
“It was a better win than it may have looked on TV.”
“I thought Michael Walker (Miss Idyllic) had me at the top of the straight but he enjoyed the challenge and he came out on top which was nice.”
Stable foreman David Charles was also impressed with the win and agreed with Schofield that it was better than it looked.
“He was strong on the line and he had no peace and the second horse had the sit on him. I thought it was a good, strong win,” Charles said.
Charles said that Bantam would now have a short break and be back in time to contest the Group 3 $150,000 Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14 prior to the Blue Diamond Stakes.
Bantam had had one previous start when sent out as the short priced favourite when fifth up the Flemington straight in the Group 3 $150,000 racing.com Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) on November 8.
O’Shea felt that the Exceed And Excel colt didn’t get the opportunity to show his full potential at Flemington and punters felt the same and stuck with him again at Moonee Valley sending him out the $3.70 favourite again.
“He’s a horse of some ability and I felt he wasn’t afforded a true opportunity to show his ability,” O’Shea said of his Flemington run..
“We elected to come down the grandstand side and it was definitely a mistake.”
Runner up Miss Idyllic will continue on a Magic Millions 2yo Classic campaign and will have a run in Sydney on her way to the Gold Coast for the $2m 1200m race for the two year olds.