It was being billed as one of the biggest returns to racing this year. The much talked about 3YO son of Iffraaj by the name of Ayrton had been very impressive in his first two starts and the media have not missed him in the lead up to his run in the 3YO Handicap at Caulfield on Saturday.
Sent out the $1.50 pop we knew he had the class to win the race first up, but there was a lingering doubt that at 1200m he might be vulnerable with speedster Yulong Commander setting a cracking pace. Jumping from the wide barrier, leading Victorian jockey Jamie Kah kept the big boy out of trouble where he travelled three wide and sat off the hot pace. Coming to the turn Jamie allowed him to stride up outside the leaders and he was given a little shake up and went straight past them to kick clear. The race was over at the 100m and Jamie allowed the gelding to be eased while giving him a pat down the neck to win by just over a length.
It was a great start to his preparation and trainer Mick Price referred to the first up run as a serious barrier trial for the horse. He will now head to Queensland next week and get ready for the Group 3 Fred Best Classic over 1400m at Eagle Farm. This race grants automatic entry to the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap two weeks later and that will be the eventual goal for the winter. If Ayrton can’t win the Fred Best Classic there is the Group 2 1600m Queensland Guineas as another option on the same day.
Whatever the result over the next few weeks, one thing is for sure, Ayrton is a serious horse on the rise and the owners are going to get one hell of a ride.