Team Hawkes strike gold with Spend on debut
STAR jockey Tommy Berry answered diplomatically when asked to compare the boom Team Hawkes-trained duo Spend and Exceedance.
"They are very different horses but for colts they do have the same temperament, they are very relaxed types and do whatever you ask,'' Berry said after riding Spend to a debut win at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
"It's too early to be comparing them but they are both very promising.''
Spend, a $1.55 million Easter Yearling purchase, lived up the pre-race hype to make a winning debut in the Everest Carnival Handicap (1100m).
Exceedance has had two starts for a stunning debut at Wyong before a luckless third at Rosehill earlier in the winter and is held in such high regard he is the early favourite at $8 for the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on September 28.
Spend vaulted to $26 for the Golden Rose after his debut win, although co-trainer Michael Hawkes would not be drawn on race plans, adding the stable was only concentrating on Saturday's race and getting the son of Snitzel's race career off to a winning start.
"He was supposed to trial at Rosehill but they were washed out so it just shows the capabilities of this colt to win without having a trial,'' Hawkes said.
"For a colt, he has a great attitude. He got the job done, it might not have looked pretty but he will take a lot of benefit from this win.''
Spend ($2.90 favourite) swooped on True Detective ($3.40) and looked set to score an easy win but the latter kicked back strongly to go under by a short head. They gapped their rivals, with more than four lengths to Belitsa ($8).
But it didn't all go to plan for Spend, who was under pressure 600m from home and giving away a start to True Detective, who cruised to the lead inside the 300m.
Berry had won on True Detective at that colt's only previous start in February and he used that experience to advantage on Spend.
"I've ridden True Detective, he's a lovely horse, but when I won on him he hit the front and got a bit lost so I had that in the back of my mind when I was chasing on this horse (Spend),'' Berry said.
"I didn't want to just amble up on him. I wanted to try and pass him quickly because I knew if I just cruised up it would give him the chance to fight back.
"Spend handled the track fine but the 1100m was too sharp for him. At the 600m when they put the pressure on he dropped the bit and struggled to go that speed.
"I thought we were in a bit of trouble then as it takes a good horse to go from not travelling at all to pick them up and put them away like he did.''
Berry suggested Spend would only improve when he got out over a longer trip.
"Spend's only had a couple of jump-outs and they are not like trials. There is a lot of improvement to come from this colt,'' he said.