Centre Pivot returned to his best form to score his maiden win for new trainer John Sargent in the 2015 Spring Preview Handicap at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
Countryman was expected to get a very soft lead in the early stages of the Spring Preview Handicap and that ended up being the case, but jockey Blake Shinn elected to push forward on Centre Pivot to settle him just behind the leader.
Countryman looked to have plenty of gas left in the tank and he was asked for an extra effort by jockey Tim Clark until the 400 metre mark, but he was unable to drop Centre Pivot and the More Than Ready gelding proved too strong for his rival in the final 100 metres.
Trainer John Sargent admitted during the week that he was concerned about Centre Pivot due to his alleged exposure to cobalt during his time under the care of previous trainer Sam Kavanagh and the Kiwi trainer was clearly delighted to see the five-year-old return to winning form.
“I just said to Blake either go back or go forward and I’ll leave it to you to judge the pace,” Sargent said.
“My other one went back and stayed there, but Blake went forward, put the pressure as they straightened and outfought the second horse.
“When he gets up to a mile and a mile and a half is where you will see the best of him.
“He has a bit of class about him and this should bring him on immensely.”
Centre Pivot joined the stable of Sam Kavanagh when former trainer John O’Shea took over as head trainer for the Godolphin operation and he stamped himself as a horse to watch with a progressive summer campaign.
The five-year-old scored his maiden metropolitan race win with a dominant five lengths romp in the Drummond Golf Handicap (1550m) at Canterbury on December 3 and he was beaten by Vashka in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on December 20, but he was able to return to winning form at the same venue on January 3 and he went on to take out two more races at Royal Randwick on January 24 and Rosehill Gardens on February 7.
Centre Pivot was transferred to the Sargent stable after Kavanagh was stood down from training and he was very poor first-up in the Jockey Celebration Day Handicap (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 1, but he was able to return to his best form today.
Magic Hurricane finished a credible third, while the likes of Hong Kong import Silverball, imported stayer Junoob and Wakeful Stakes winner Thunder Lady were unable to get into the finish.