Progressive stayer Instrumentalist has earned ballot exempt entry into the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) after recording a fast-finishing win in the 2014 Mornington Cup (2400m) this afternoon.
Instrumentalist was settled in the middle of the field by jockey Craig Newitt and worked into the race nicely coming around the final bend before unleashing with a strong sprint down the outside of the track.
The imported stayer hit the front just before the line to record his maiden win at Listed level from a brave Travolta and veteran stayer Macedonian who stormed home from the back of the field to almost steal victory.
Instrumentalist has progressed through the grades impressively since making his Australian racing debut in April of last year and will now have the opportunity to take part in one of the biggest races on the racing calendar.
Justine Hales, the stable representative in Melbourne for Chris Waller, was quick to pay credit to the ride of Newitt and praised Instrumentalist for the toughness he has shown in each of his race starts since joining the stable.
“Craig rode him brilliantly; he waited, didn’t take off too early and he knew that the horse was honest and tries so hard,” Hales said after the race.
“He doesn’t look brilliant and he doesn’t sprint away from them or anything, but he just grinds and he has the power to get ahead of them.”
Hales said that Instrumentalist is likely to head for a stint in the spelling paddock and is confident that Waller already has a spring preparation in mind for the son of Amadeus Wolf, which is sure to include the Caulfield Cup.
“I think he deserves a spell now; he has had a pretty big prep,” Hales said.
“I can guarantee that Chris has probably got a program mapped out already.
“There are a lot of nice owners here that have supported the stable really well, they have shares in a lot of the Europeans, and it is good that they have travelled to see the horse run.”
Newitt was riding Instrumentalist for the first time in the Mornington Cup, but has developed a strong partnership with Waller and is the regular rider for a number of the horses that are based at the leading trainers Melbourne stable.
Newitt said that he is always excited to ride horses for Waller and, likes Hales, paid credit to the tough, grinding performance of Instrumentalist.
“He has got the key to them and you know as soon as you get on them that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with.
“All he wanted to do is relax the whole race and down the 600 he just kept picking up underneath me.
“He got to the outside and he quicken to just sustain it at the line.
“When you ride him he just feels like an average animal, but he has a big ticker and big set of lungs and he just keeps running.”
Tuscan Fire, the winner of the 2013 Mornington Cup, went on to finish twelfth behind Fawkner in the Caulfield Cup.