Mornington trainer Jim Conlan will head to Sydney with his new stale star Ferlax with the Group 1 $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 13 firmly on the agenda.
Ferlax made a meteoric rise to Group 1 glory jumping from a restricted win at Sale to taking out the prestigious $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Aided by a perfect Stephen Baster ride, Ferlax was able to steal a rails run at the 300m and gain a winning break over You’re So Good who was finishing strongly down the middle of the track.
Conlan hasn’t set any further Autumn plans in place but if he follows a course for the three year olds, the Pentire colt could line up in the Group 1 $550,000 Hyland Race Colours Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 16 and the Group 1 $500,000 M. J. Bale Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill two weeks later leading up to the Derby.
Conlan also has other options in mind and a start in the weight for age Group 1 $400,000 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 27 hasn’t been ruled out or a trip to Queensland for the Group 1 $1m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 could also be considered.
But the fact is that Conlan knows he has a very good race horse on his hands and a prospective stallion in the making.
“He’s very, very promising. Potentially, he’s the best horse I’ve trained,” Conlan said.
“He’s still learning, he’s only going to get better.”
“The day you put the acid on them they give you a different feel.”
“He’s clearly the best horse I’ve had like that.”
The winning ride by Baster on Ferlax in the Australian Guineas was a highlight in itself and the amicable jockey showed that he has lost none of his skill and determination after being marched out of Singapore last month with no explanation.
Baster saved every inch of ground on the three year old and after travelling sweetly third on the fence, scooted up along the inside of the leader, Ajeeb, when he rolled off the fence about the 300m.
“He was always bolting,” Baster said.
“But I expected them to leave me flat-footed when they sprinted.
“They didn’t though, it was the other way around.”
Ferlax’s Australian Guineas win took his record to four wins from four starts with $332,000 in prizemoney in the bank.