Cranbourne horseman Shawn Mathrick appears to have unearthed a particularly exciting prospect in three-year-old Ayers Rock, who completed an impressive start-to-finish performance to take out the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington this afternoon.
Jumping from the gates well, jockey Darren Gauci allowed Ayers Rock to stride forward and take up the lead ahead of the classy field of sixteen; setting a noticeably quick tempo away from the barriers and over the back straight.
Continuing to enjoy an easy run on pace, the Nicconi colt was offered a clear racing line on the rails upon rounding onto the final straight; kicking up a gear and locking in a fierce sprint battle with Tivaci; managing to pull half a length clear to post a maiden success at black type level.
Gauci delivered a typically brilliant performance on Ayers Rock to win the UCI Stakes, and is confident the colt will have no issues continuing to step up in distance towards races like the 2015 Victoria Derby (2500m) on the final day of October.
“I was pretty confident because he’s a fit horse and takes a lovely big stride,” Gauci said.
“He did a great job and he was still strong on the line.
“I have no doubt he’ll continue to do it and do it well.”
Mathrick was thrilled with Ayers Rock’s performance for success in the 2015 UCI Stakes and echoed Dunn’s sentiments on the colt being a serious prospect for the Victoria Derby.
“I’ve spruiked this horse from the day we broke him in,” Mathrick said.
“I took him to Mildura on a five day back up from Canterbury and the track was a heavy 10 and it was Mildura, but he won and he just won that easy from a five day back-up.
“I said to the boys I’ll win the Derby with this horse. He can run a trip and is a magnificent stayer.
“We took advantage of the gate today but he looked like when he jumped he was going to settle so he probably could have settled third or fourth.
“I’ve had huge wraps on him and now it has shown.”
Ayers Rock has posted two wins and a minor through his nine start career since first appearing on course competitively in late December, and was unlucky to finish an agonizingly-close second in the Listed Morphettville Guineas (1600m) last time out on September 12th.