Newcomer Deadline Day might have got the heave-ho at the betting ring, but he went out to prove the doubters wrong with a convincing win in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1200m on Sunday.
Friendless at $269, presumably because most thought he would need the run - and more ground - the half-brother to former top juvenile Onceuponatime quickened like a real sprinter inside the last 300m to get the better of Super Tycoon (Manoel Nunes) by three-quarter length.
O’Reilly Star (Shafiq Rizuan) ran third another head away. The winning time was 1min 11.53secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.
While a little numb with shock like most by the most unexpected debut win, trainer James Peters said his good genes must have counted for something.
“He’s well bred but I didn’t think he would have won over 1200m first-up. He needs at least 1400m to a mile and I thought he needed a little bit more experience,” said the English conditioner.
“From the wide draw, I told Olivier (Placais) to sit back and let him run home, but he was travelling like a winner.
“He finished off very well which is great, especially as it’s the first win for his owner, Green Street Stable of South Africa. He is bred to get over more ground and I’m sure Justin Vermaak and his partners will have a lot of fun with him.”
Placais, who has been doing plenty of groundwork with the Rip Van Winkle three-year-old, said he went into the race with an open mind given his rather inconspicuous prep so far, but upon cornering, suddenly realised he might be sitting on a winner.
“I was surprised he won at his debut,” said the French jockey who was at a riding double as he went on to salute aboard Dragon Gold two races later.
“James told me to settle in midfield at first as the plan was to teach him to relax at his first race, and try and look for galloping room for him to finish it off at the business end.
“But he jumped so fast that I found myself closer to the lead than I wanted. I was able to give him a breather round the bend, and when we reached the 400m, I gave a squeeze and he was still full of running and gave a nice kick.
“I gave him a couple of hits and he kept finding, and that’s when I knew we could steal this race. He was still very green but he was very strong to the line.”
Deadline Day is out of Scarlet Runner, who is the same dam as Onceuponatime (x Van Nistelrooy), David Hill’s former top chestnut, who retired to stud in New Zealand the winner of five races at Kranji, including two at Group 3 level.