Tough gelding Transporter scored his first race in over twelve months with a strong performance in the 2014 Strawberry Road Handicapat Eagle Farm this afternoon.
Transporter was a major drifter in Strawberry Road Handicap betting markets before the running on the Listed event, but the Commands gelding produced a professional performance to score a comfortable two and a half lengths victory from Choice Bro and Elmantosh.
Veteran jockey Jim Byrne gave Transporter a lovely run into the race and he timed his run perfectly on the six-year-old to hit the front at the 200 metre mark; with the John Thompson-trained gelding running away from the rest of the field on the line.
The Strawberry Road Handicap was the first race win for Transporter since he took out the Listed Members Quality (1600m) at Eagle Farm on April 20 before going on to perform strongly during the 2013 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Transporter finished third behind Lights Of Heaven and Foreteller in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at Gold Coast on May 4 before finishing a narrow second behind Solzhenitsyn in the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1400m) and third in the Strawberry Road Handicap.
The Listed winner failed to fire during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, finishing towards the tail of the field in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12 and the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day, and was sent for a lengthy stint in the spelling paddock.
Transporter returned to racing with a fair eighth in the Listed Prime Minister’s Cup (1300m) at the Gold Coast on May 3 and had no luck in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben on May 17 before returning to a semblance of his best form with a fast-finishing fourth in the Listed Spear Chief Quality (1500m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
Choice Bro was the best-backed runner in the lead-up to the Strawberry Road Handicap and had every chance to score his first black type win in Australia, after winning the 2012 Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Group 1 level in New Zealand, but was no match for Transporter in the final stages of the race.