Vancouver upstaged a host of Group 1 winners to score a fighting barrier trial victory at Royal Randwick this morning.
Vancouver was slightly slow out of the gates in the second barrier trial of the morning that was run over 840 metres, but he was hustled by jockey Tommy Berry to challenge for the lead in the early stages along with Hi World and Kirramosa.
Hi World looked to have the measure of Vancouver with 200 metres left to run when both horses were asked for an extra effort, but Vancouver was able to fight back to score a narrow win from Hi World and fast-finishing Cosmic Endeavour and First Seal.
Vancouver was making his first appearance at the races since he scored a memorable victory in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21 and he looks on track to return to the races in the Group 2 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 29 before he presses on to the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at the same venue on September 12, the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 10 and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
Hi World had a fitness edge over his rival after finishing fourth behind Courtza King in a barrier trial over 900 metres at Rosehill Gardens on July 21 and he produced another impressive performance that indicated he is in for a good 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
Outside of Vancouver and Hi World, the standout performers in the second barrier trial were Cosmic Endeavour and First Seal, who both hit the line strongly in the final stages of the race despite being kept under a very heavy hold.
Cosmic Endeavour took out the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but she was sent to the spelling paddock after she missed the placings in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21, the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 6 and the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at the same venue a week later.
First Seal was also sent to the spelling paddock in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes, but she looks in good condition for her upcoming spring campaign that will include a tilt at races like the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 26, the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 10 and the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on October 31.
Rising three-year-old Exosphere, 2013 Crown Oaks winner Kirramosa and Doncaster Mile winner Kermadec also contested the barrier trial and they were all given a fairly easy time by their respective jockeys.
Vancouver is currently available at 2015 Golden Rose Stakes odds of $3.20 with Ladbrokes and is a clear favourite from Pride Of Dubai ($8), Exosphere ($14), Mogador ($13) and Press Statement ($13).