In a performance which proved he is one of the most exciting colts in Australia, Exceedance romped home at Rosehill Gardens to land the Group Three San Domenico Stakes.
Owned by a consortium of high profile owners, including Phoenix Thoroughbreds, the son of Exceed And Exel looked a great prospect in two starts as a juvenile and he started his three-year-old campaign in the best possible style. Factoring in the heavy surface the triumph of the Hawkes Racing trainee may be even more impressive than it first appeared with pundits and fans alike heaping praise on this classy sprinter.
Running in the iconic green and white silks of Vinery Stud Exeedance was perhaps a little slow to break, but regular jockey Tommy Berry looked unflustered as he settled his mount into a nice rhythm sitting a few lengths of pacesetter Anaheed. There the pair would stay until the turn for home when Berry started to wind up his willing partner. Upfront odds-on favourite Bivouac took over the lead and seemed to be moving like the winner, however just two lengths back Exeedance was beginning to hit his stride. Engaging top gear the winner flashed past his main rival to take out his maiden Group race title with plenty left in the tank.
“We just let the horse do the talking,” said co-trainer Michael Hawkes. “He had two good runs last campaign and coming into this race it was a one we’d always set for him. They didn’t go overly hard, Tommy knew he was on the best horse, and I said to him before the race just ride him like the best horse. Once he let down, he just gobbled it up and made it look easy.
“He’s a brilliant colt; he definitely showed that last time in. Obviously, he’s come from a Wyong maiden to a placing here at Rosehill, he was a benchmark 67 before today, but he had the potential, and he’s far superior.”
Tommy Berry has been in the plate for all of those runs, experiencing first hand the colt’s progress through the ranks. He too was impressed with the performance despite a bit of trepidation in the run-up to the race.
“It’s alway a little scary when they go out (for a spell) because you just want the same horse to come back,” the Rider explained. “But the Hawkes do it year after year and have a great record with their three-year-olds. They give them plenty of time and bring them back in great order. He (Exceedance) is an absolute pleasure to have anything to do with; I’m just full of praise for him.”
Holding entries in the Group One Golden Rose and Caulfield Guineas it could be a fascinating Spring ahead for all those connected with the three-year-old.