Sand Bank quickly made up for his costly failure on debut with a most commanding win at his next run on Friday night.
Considered a good thing at his first start on January 25 following two barrier trial wins, the Dubleo three-year-old, unfortunately for his backers and connections, could not quite live up to his short odds of $9 to run fourth to Storm Troops.
Trainer Steven Burridge went back to the drawing board, setting Sand Bank for a barrier trial one week later. The gelding came through with a second place while being hard-held by race-rider Craig Newitt.
Hopes for a form turnaround at his second outing in Friday’s $75,000 Restricted Maiden race (1200m) could be harboured by Burridge and the Premier Racing Stable, but spirits were dampened when he drew the outermost alley in No 13.
The horror gate, however, turned out to be his lucky number on this Friday the 13th. Sooled forward by Newitt, Sand Bank ($22) was able to cross to the rails rather easily to go and dictate terms at his own leisure.
Costner (Michael Rodd) and Whisperinthewind (Corey Brown) were next in line but had their work cut out when Sand Bank pinched a couple of lengths upon straightening to set sail for the finishing line.
Favourite Storm Trooper (Manoel Nunes), who ran a cracking second on debut, looked a fleeting chance when he was angled out for his run at the 300m, but it soon became apparent he would have to play second fiddle again as Sand Bank held him safely at bay by one length.
Whisperinthewind did well to hang on for third place another one length away. The winning time was 1min 10.8secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.
“We were obviously disappointed with his first run. He just looked a bit lost on that day,” said Burridge.
“We ran him in a barrier trial, he played up a bit but he ran good, and I’d like to thank the starter John Pepe for his help in settling him. The grass helped tonight and though the barrier was a hindrance, he got it right.
“He’s going really well and we will back him up next week in a Novice race.”
Newitt said Sand Bank brought his A-game second-up but was looking for a challenge in the home straight.
“He showed great speed out of the blocks and came straight back for me,” said the Australian jockey.
“He was waiting for something to challenge him in the home straight but he showed a great turn of foot to score a nice win in the end.”
Burridge’s son Wade, one of Premier Racing Stable’s managers, praised the good job his father has done on the horse he bought from Brisbane.