Prompt Return showed plenty of early speed to record an impressive win in the 2014 Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington this afternoon.
Prompt Return made his racing debut with a win in the Elmore Plate (900m) at Bendigo on October 18, but he was friendless in betting in the lead-up to the Maribyrnong Plate; with punters keen to back debutant Bantam, who started the race as a clear favourite at a quote of $2.60 even though no debutant has won the race since Lady Of Pines in 1996.
Jockey James Winks elected to take Prompt Return to the inside part of the Flemington straight despite the outside of the track proving superior on Victoria Derby Day, but the decision paid dividends for Winks and Prompt Return scored a comfortable win from Old Trieste, while Sailing By ran home strongly down the middle of the track to finish third.
Trainer Danny O’Brien revealed after the race that Winks had always planned to take Prompt Return to the inside rail, but he said that there was plenty of guesswork involved in the decision.
“He is a very nice colt,” O’Brien said after the race.
“He went to Bendigo really as a barrier trial and he won and he came home and improved a lot in the three weeks since then and you saw that today.
“It was a guess, James just said that he was drawn on the inside and the horse goes better when he runs on the running rail, so he would find the inside rail.”
The prizemoney on offer in the Maribyrnong Plate means that Prompt Return is basically guaranteed a start in races like the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) during the 2015 Autumn Racing Carnival, but O’Brien said that he is yet to decide what path the Beneteau colt will follow during his autumn campaign; with the Magic Millions at the Gold Coast in January another potential option for the two-year-old.
“He has been very dominant today in what is historically a very good form guide for the two-year-old season,” O’Brien said.
“He is also a Magic Millions horse and I will have a chat to Mark Sowerby and Ron Hunter who own the horse and we will work out where we are going to do in the autumn.”
Godolphin colt and pre-race favourite Bantam produced the best performance of the horses that settled towards the outside of the Flemington track, but jockey Hugh Bowman said after the race that was not an excuse for the defeat and revealed that the son of Exceed And Excel raced very greenly.
Prompt Return ran a winning time of 57 and a half seconds and Testa Rossa, Bel Esprit and General Truce are the only horses that have won the Maribyrnong Plate in a quicker time.