Victorian colt Philippi faces a possible seven-day turnaround into next weekend’s $1.5 million Australian Derby (2400m) after scoring a strong win in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill today.
The Michael Kent-trained three-year-old has shown promise without breaking through this campaign but found an extra gear with the addition of blinkers today.
In a big 16-horse field Philippi raced more eagerly than his previous starts but still produced a strong final 200m to finish well clear of Hippopus and Sir Denzel.
Kent was happy with how the gear change helped switch on his charge but will wait and see how he pulls up before committing to the Derby.
“I threw [the blinkers] on him today just to take a better spot,” Kent said.
“He raced fairly keenly but I thought he hit the line well.”
Jockey Luke Nolen gave the son of Host a glowing endorsement ahead of a potential Derby start.
“He was quite strong through the line…that run will top him off nicely for the following week,” Nolen said.
“Once he settled he was always in control of the race I thought.”
It was the fourth start of Philippi’s campaign and his first in Sydney after previously running sixth in the Australian Guineas and second in the Alister Clark Stakes.
Kent resisted the temptation to test him over a staying trip in the Victorian Derby during the spring after he signalled plenty of potential when winning the first three starts of his career.
Runner-up Hippopus confirmed his readiness for better class races after winning his previous two starts in restricted grade at Canterbury.