Exciting three-year-old colt Exceedance kicked his Spring campaign off in style at Rosehill on Saturday claiming the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) first-up.
Snowden-trained Anaheed and Catch Me, as well as Royal Popcorn and race-favourite Bivouac proved no match for Exceedance’s blistering turn of foot, as Michael Hawkes’ promising colt by Exceed and Excel now leaves the champion trainer weighing his options in the months ahead.
“He was actually in the wrong spot (under the conditions)” Hawkes said of Saturday’s win.
“Barrier 1 really wasn’t his barrier the way the race panned out. These races get very tricky. With the tempo they didn’t go overly hard. Tommy (Berry) knew he was on the best horse. I said that to him before the race ‘just ride him like the best horse, you’re on the best horse’. Once he let down he just gobbled it up and made it look too easy.”
Punters who got on board at the $4.80 mark were left cheering as Exceedance lapped up the heavy track. Not surprisingly, the dominant run has seen him firm from $12.00 into $4.40 ahead of the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) on September 28.
With only a small field of chances to overcome, Exceedance went to the back early on before swooping on the leading Bivouac down the straight. The James Cummings-trained three-year-old had the run of the race and the market on his side but found himself trapped with 200m to go.
“Certainly wasn’t as effective on rain-affected winter ground but take nothing away from the winner who was too good on the day” beaten jockey Hugh Bowman said after the race.
Last year’s San Domenico Stakes winner Graff went on to run third in the Golden Rose Stakes, but that isn’t the only option for Hawkes going forward.
The Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 12 could be the ideal target, with Exceedance already firming from $16.00 into $8.00 with the bookmaker.
Of course, jockey Tommy Berry isn’t ruling out a start at Randwick in The Everest on October 19.
“If you got the call up and the Hawkes put him in the race he’d make his presence felt” Berry said following Saturday’s win.