The Gai Waterhouse trained Valentia overcame a barrier scare to take out the Group 2 $175,000 Hyland Race Colours Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Randwick today.
Valentia was passed fit to start after he burst through the front of the barriers when Time For War, who was drawn beside him played up and subsequently got loose and completed a lap of the course riderless before being caught by the clerk of the course.
The first race was then delayed for eight minutes before the all clear was given after Time For War was declared a late scratching.
Tommy Berry had Valentia out of the gates quickly and had the Fastnet Rock colt travelling sweetly in third spot behind stablemate Giuliani and favourite Gold Force who was pushed up to share the lead after missing the start.
Berry waited until heads were turned for home and then let Valentia ($4.20) stride up to the leader on top of the rise before urging him to the front and hold off Mr Bogart ($26) by half a length with Modoc ($12) running on for third.
The Skyline Stakes is an exempt free race for the Golden Slipper and Michael Kirwan, general manager from Coolmore Australia who race Valentia, said that a start in the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 5 will be decided after conferring with Waterhouse.
“We will wait and see. We will wait a couple of days and see how he pulls up and whatever,” Kirwan said.
“Very good win. Top win. Tommy kept him going. It was a good result, we are happy with that.”
Valentia was an expensive yearling, costing $1.3m at the 2013 Magic Millions Sales, and had no trouble running out the 1200m, the same distance as the Golden Slipper.
Favourite Gold Force ($2.40) faded in the straight to miss a place.