Mr Quickie cemented favouritism for next month’s Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) with victory in Saturday’s VOBIS Gold Heath (2000m) at Caulfield.
Punters who stuck with the Phillip Stokes-trained three-year-old despite a shock last-start defeat were rewarded when the son of Shamus Award quickened well off a slow tempo to easily account for his older rivals as the $1.65 favourite in the $250,000 contest.
Stokes praised the composure of jockey Ben Allen and predicted the three-year-old would have no trouble stepping up to the 2500m of the Derby in a fortnight.
“I left it up to Benny and he gave him a great ride, I was really happy with the way the horse relaxed today and he’s giving every indication that he’ll run the Derby distance,” Stokes said.
“I wasn’t worried about him getting beat last start, I thought he was vulnerable, but here we are today.
“He’s a good racehorse, he just tries.”
Meanwhile, Declarationofheart consolidated his Derby claims with an impressive win in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (2032m) at Morphettville Parks on Saturday.
The Anthony Freedman-trained three-year-old looked to be in an awkward position upon straightening but jockey Clayton Douglas stayed cool and plotted a winning path to victory in the final 300m.
Mr Quickie, who will be ridden by John Allen in the Derby, firmed into $3.60 for the race with Sportsbet, ahead of Declarationofheart ($4), Grinzinger Star ($6) and Chapada ($8).