Havana Cooler flew home late to return to the races with an impressive victory in the 2016 Doncaster Prelude at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
Havana Cooler had not been seen at the races since he finished third behind Excess Knowledge in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on October 31, but he trialed well in the lead-up to his racing return and he showed an explosive turn-of-foot late to finish over the top of Cosmic Cube.
The victory of Havana Cooler gave James McDonald his fourth win of the afternoon and he was delighted to see the imported galloper make such a successful start to his second preparation in Australia.
“He is a lovely horse and he trialed exceptionally well,” McDonald said.
“It was just a matter of getting the right race.
“This horse as a European, they always improve after they have their first prep and this horse is flying.
“John has a knack of getting the best out of them and we have had a fantastic run with them.
“It is a great day for the whole team.”
Havana Cooler made his Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing sixth in the Merrylands RSL Club Handicap (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 15 before he went off the ball somewhat, but he bounced back to his best to finish third in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m).
Trainer John O’Shea was thrilled to see Havana Cooler record his maiden race win in Australia and he is hopeful that the son of Hurricane Run can maintain this level of form as he presses forward to the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) in June.
“He was very good first-up last prep when we ran him here and he bounced back today with a similar performance in much better grade,” O’Shea said.
“He has come back in great order and the team at Osborne Park deserve a lot of credit for his performance.
“Hopefully we can continue on through to the later part of the autumn.
“The Brisbane Cup is the target, but as to how we get there I don’t know.
“We will just space his run to every three weeks and he will probably have a couple more runs before going there.”
Cosmic Cube maintained his impressive form since arriving in Australia with a win in the Doncaster Prelude, while Rudy returned to his best form with a third place finish.