The Hawkes Racing-trained Exceedance produced a stunning turn of foot to come from near last and win on debut at Wyong on Thursday.
The colt owned in partnership with several high profile owners had shown plenty of ability in a couple of trials and proved that he might be a colt to follow after landing the 1100m maiden at the New South Wales track. Breaking on terms, jockey Tommy Berry settled the horse at the rear of the field with just one rival behind them as favourite Blazing Miss set some devastating fractions out in front. Still second last at the turn for home the son of Exceed And Excel picked up well under Berry’s urgings to fly home to win in the shadow of the post and impress onlookers including co-trainer Michael Hawkes.
“He’s a quality horse, and Wyong probably isn’t his track,” Hawkes told Sky racing. “He’s had two nice trials, the first one was good and the second was more of an education trial. He’s been a bit tardy away, so I said to Tommy ‘have him where he’s comfortable’. He got back, and I was a bit worried at the corner as I knew Tommy was going to try and track up, but when the Derby horse kicked it gave him something to chase, and he really knuckled down, it was a really good effort. He’s definitely a lovely colt going forward.
“He’s got an above average ability, and we’ve always had a good opinion of him, honestly if it had been a better surface he probably would have gone even better. Wyong is a tight track, and you have to ride it patiently. He’s given him the perfect ride and got the job done. There’s a lot of good people in the horse, and they’ve been very patient, and now they’re starting to get the rewards.”