Classy three-year-old Hampton Court has caused a huge upset at Royal Randwick this afternoon, displaying an incredible turn of foot in the final straight to win the featured Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
Jumping from the gates only fairly, the Redoute’s Choice colt settled well within the pack, allowing early leaders Panzer Division, Valentia and Press Report to set a noticeably quick tempo over the back straight and rounding onto the bend.
Finding the final straight with plenty to do, Hampton Court slowly spooled up and charged home down the outside, sprinting past the leaders with 100m to run and finding the line close to two lengths in the clear of First Seal; Sweynesse running on for third.
Trainer Gai Waterhouse was thrilled with Hampton Court’s performance to win the 2014 Spring Champion Stakes, and hinted the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2400m) may figure as the next point of call.
“There’s a horse who couldn’t win a race until last week and everyone was pulling on his tail, even the owners had lost sort of heart, but once he was able to sort of mature … he was able to find his feet,” Waterhouse said.
“He won the Dulcify last week, I backed him up this week in the Spring Champion and now he’s bought his ticket to Melbourne.
“You’d think he might run in the Derby, it would be very nice wouldn’t it, on the first Saturday in November.”
Jockey Josh Parr delivered a sensational ride on Hampton Court in the 2014 Spring Champion Stakes and was quick to lay the praise on his classy partner immediately after dismounting.
“We had a plan to be in the first four and he jumped ok but the speed into the first corner and then again out of it was quite quick, so I was happy to come back and find a nice position,” Parr said.
“Going down the side there they improved again and we came off the bridle a little bit early, I just had to coach him a little bit through that section, I tried to go with Sweynesse and he put a bit of a gap on me which isn’t ideal in a big race.
“His turn of foot when he got down and let rip was incredible.”
Offered at odds of $11 prior to the Spring Champion Stakes, Hampton Court is sure to shorten drastically in markets for success in the 2014 Victoria Derby following his maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing this afternoon.