Three-year-old Counterattack has returned to racing in the best way possible on George Main Stakes Day this afternoon; mustering an impressive turn of foot to take out the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) at Royal Randwick.
Jumping from the gates fairly, jockey Jim Cassidy settled Counterattack off the pace of early leaders Haptic, Zoutentant and Not A Cherry, who flew the gates and ensured plenty of tempo was injected into the Heritage Stakes.
Rounding onto the straight blocked for a run and with plenty to do, Cassidy allowed Counterattack to balance before mounting his impressive late assault; immediately responding when asked for an extra effort and pulling clear to hit the line a comfortable length ahead of Haptic; Takedown boxing on for third.
Cassidy delivered a perfectly-timed ride aboard Counterattack in the 2015 Heritage Stakes, in what he revealed was his first time riding the horse.
“He’s a lovely colt and he was unlucky in Brisbane in a few runs,” Cassidy said after crossing the line.
“This was the first time I’ve been on him – no track work no nothing, but he’s a lovely colt and he’s going to develop into a nice horse this prep I think.
“The speed was nice and he travelled beautiful throughout.
“I just tried to take it off him a little early to finish off and it was a soft win in the end.”
Trainer Chris Waller was pleased with Counterattack’s performance for success in the Heritage Stakes and believes his campaign through the recent Brisbane Winter Carnival has proven priceless in the colt’s progression.
“He’s always had the writing on the wall of being a really nice horse but he went to Brisbane looking like a foal,” Waller said.
“I guess the trip away with a bit of warmth in winter has certainly helped.”
Waller is yet to set a specific major target for Counterattack this season, but confirmed the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) in a fortnight will figure as his next point of call ahead of a possible trip to Melbourne for the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on October 31st, should form warrant a berth.
“The Roman Consul has always been the plan,” he added.
“This was the race we picked out once we left Brisbane just to give him a bit of extra time. We didn’t want to get sucked into going to the Golden Rose.
“So Roman Consul and then we might head to Melbourne if he’s going well.”
In taking out the 2015 Heritage Stakes, Counterattack has now posted two wins and three minors through eight career starts.