Odds-on favourite KEEN ON GOLD overcame a sluggish start to win comfortably at Doomben on Wednesday.
Favourite backers would have had their heart in their mouth when the three-year-old gelding missed the start by three lengths, but rider Stephanie Thornton didn’t panic, allowing her mount to gradually catch up to the field.
Coming to the 400m mark, KEEN ON GOLD began to circle the field and travelled like a winner a long way from home.
The chestnut crossed to the line with two lengths to spare much to the relief of trainer Steve O’Dea.
“He’s definitely a work in progress. He’s fallen out of the gates and was a clear last early but the race probably didn’t pan out too bad for him in the run as he had something to drag him into the race,” O’Dea told Sky Racing.
“He travelled up well at the top of the straight but as I say I think he’s still learning. Even when he got to the front he wanted to float around a little bit and had his ears pricked.
“But we’ve got the first win out of the way now and he should take good improvement.”
In his two previous starts for the O’Dea stable, KEEN ON GOLD finished runner-up at Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast.
KEEN ON GOLD is owned by long-time client Mr Rapisarda, who also raced the dam and second dam with O’Dea.
“It’s always good to have an association with a family like that,” O’Dea added.
The stable’s other runners at Doomben’s midweek meeting also included the unlucky BRING ME SHOWERS who came from a long way back to miss in a head-bobbing finish to the 1640m Maiden.