The ‘Ex-Factor’ has been a winning formula for Vinery Stud this season with Exhilarates and Exceedance going tit-for-tat in Melbourne and Sydney.
Vinery graduate Exhilarates won the Quezette Stakes Gr.3 at Caulfield on August 17, Vinery colt Exceedance returned serve with a stunning victory in the San Domenico Stakes Gr.3 at Rosehill on August 31 before Exhilarates beat the southern fillies again in the Atlantic Jewel Stakes LR (a race named after another star Vinery graduate) at Moonee Valley on September 7.
That puts the spotlight back on Exceedance this Saturday and bookmakers have installed him a $2.20 favourite for the Run to the Rose Gr.2 at Rosehill. Team Hawkes co-trainer Michael Hawkes believes he can make it four 3yo features in a row for Vinery.
“He pulled up nicely from that first-up win on a heavy track and he worked well earlier this week,” Hawkes said yesterday. “It was a just a casual gallop on Tuesday and there’s plenty left in reserve for Saturday.
“The San Domenico ticked a couple of boxes. It proved he can handle wet and dry tracks and that he will appreciate the step up to 1200m. The Run to the Rose looks a stronger race with more depth but he’s an exciting colt and we’re very happy with him going forward.”
Exceedance will strip fitter again for the return clash with Bivouac after beating him by two lengths a fortnight ago. He carved out an exceptional final 600m sectional of 33.64s on a Heavy 9.
Both colts are son of champion sire Exceed And Excel (another Vinery graduate) and they currently share top billing on the Timeform 3YO rankings at 119+. Exceedance was bred by Nick and Amy Vass from their NZ-bred mare Bonnie Mac (Thorn Park) and he was purchased for $180,000 at the 2018 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale by Vinery in a partnership that includes Rupert Legh, Neil Werrett, Steve McCann, Glenlogan Park, Phoenix Thoroughbreds, Doug Alderslade and Colin Madden.
Hawkes is also upbeat with his More Than Ready gallopers Trope and God Of Thunder ahead of a crackajack card at Rosehill. Trope has been entered for the Theo Marks Quality Gr.2 and God Of Thunder is fancied to double-up in the Fugen Constructions Hcp.
“Trope has come through okay from his first-up run in the Show County a fortnight ago. He got held up for a few strides and we thought it was a dead-heat but you have to abide by the judge’s decision.”
Perth mare Arcadia Queen has opened a short-priced $1.85 favourite with Trope on the second line of markets at $5. “He’s only lightly-raced and the Theo Marks will be his toughest test to date. In saying that, he’s a quality horse and I can see him storming down the outside this Saturday.”
God Of Thunder has been a revelation since being gelded and his most recent win was phenomenal according to Hawkes. “He’s turned the corner and is really ticking over now. He’s doing everything right and Brenton (Avdulla) just let him go through the gears last time.
“He’s up in grade but down in the weights and is ready to go the next step.”
God Of Thunder is the opening $3 favourite ahead of Vinery-sired duo All Too Royal (All Too Hard) and Star Boy (Pluck) who are also in single-figures at $4.60 and $9 respectively.
All Too Royal has been saddled with top-weight of 62kg after carrying Vinery’s colours to a first-up win at Randwick. Star Boy was last seen going down a nose in the Ramornie Hcp LR at Grafton in July before tuning up with trial win at Scone on August 27.