Doug Harrison-trained Falcent beat a number of higher profile horses to win a barrier trial at Cranbourne this morning, but it was speed filly Eloping who produced the more impressive effort.
Eloping showed her customary gate speed and took up the running in the third barrier trial of the morning over 800 meters before she was challenged by Falcent in the final 200 metres.
Falcent was under the whip in the final stages of the trial, but was still only just able to get past Eloping who was kept under a heavy hold throughout.
Eloping was one of the most consistent two-year-olds of the 2013/2014 racing season, recording four wins from her eight race starts, and was able to replicate that form as a three-year-old during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
The Choisir filly started her campaign with a credible third behind Angelic Light and Lankan Rupee in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 6 and returned to winning form in the Group 3 Champagne Stakes (1200m) before making it back-to-back wins in the Listed Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m).
Eloping was far from disgraced when sixth behind Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day and she was only narrowly denied another win at Group level when second behind Onemorezeta in the Group 3 Gucci Stakes (1100m) at Flemington five days later.
Falcent started his racing career with two wins and three placings from his first six starts, but has been unable to replicate that form as an older horse and he was sent for throat surgery after he failed to beat home a single runner in both the 2013 edition of the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) and Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1100m).
The Falkirk gelding returned to racing with a unlucky effort in the Tony Beddison Cup (1000m) at Moonee Valley on November 29 and he was beaten by a very large margin in the Racing.Com Handicap (1000m) at Bendigo on December 21.
Star Rolling was making his first public appearance since he suffered an injury when tenth in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 1 and he was given a quiet trial, while the likes of Group 3 winner Griante and Stephen Brown-trained Canali were both able to work home fairly under a tight hold.