Adelaide-based Eclair Big Bang finished strongly to record his first win in Melbourne in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) this afternoon.
Eclair Big Bang chased down Kiwi galloper El Roca, who kicked clear with 300 metres left to run, and held off the fast-finishing Long John who was forced to race four wide coming around the final turn.
The Savabeel gelding impressed with his third place finish in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 7 but has clearly improved and will go into the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) as one of the favourites.
Trainer Philip Stokes, who was celebrating just his fourth victory at Group level in Victoria, was delighted with the performance and confirmed that the three-year-old would push on to the Caulfield Guineas but believes the gelding may be even better in the autumn.
‘We brought him along slowly and his fitness is getting there,” Stokes said.
“He still has to learn how to relax a little bit better but the two weeks into the Guineas will be better than the three weeks leading into this.
“I think he is still a preparation away to be honest with you but we will press on to the Guineas after that.”
Leading Adelaide jockey Dom Tourneur timed his ran perfectly on Eclair Big Bang and said after the race that he believes the classy three-year-old is good enough to be a contender at Group level in the Caulfield Guineas.
“Obviously it was a good group of gallopers and he put them away well today,” Tourneur said.
“I was always concerned about getting the mile of the Guineas with this horse but today after 500 metres I was happy because he let the nerves go and was calm.
“If he can switch off and let it go early I am sure that he will get the mile.
“He still wasn’t 100 percent fit today but I am sure that he will peak on Grand Final Day.”
Caulfield Guineas favourite Long John lost no admirers with his strong staying effort and looks as though he will relish the step up to a mile.