It was not the Guineas Sean And Jake Casey had planned for when Dom To Shoot left Perth but they were happy to collect a consolation prize at Mornington.
Under leading Perth jockey William Pike, Dom To Shoot paid travelling expenses with his victory in the $135,000 Mornington Guineas (1500m) on Saturday.
Dom To Shoot left Perth with a third-place finish in the Group 1 Kingston Town Stakes (1800m) at Ascot in December with the Melbourne Autumn Carnival in his sights.
A closing fifth in the Group 3 C S Hayes Stakes had the father-and-son Casey team looking forward to the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on February 27.
However, it was a run that left Jake Casey scratching his head when finishing near the tail, but it did provide Pike with some important intelligence.
Circling the field, Dom To Shoot, the +210 favourite, ran down Let’s Karaka Deel (+750) to score by a head with Black Penn (+450) one and a quarter lengths away third.
“I was always planning on riding him more conservatively,” Pike said.
“I was hoping to find a three-wide line and be a little closer than that, but that’s not how it panned out.
“I haven’t ridden him very often but my quick observation was that the blinkers were sending him a bit over-the-top. They probably worked for him when he was younger, but they were probably doing too much for him.
“The winkers went on because he’s not a horse you can trust too much, so we weren’t game to take everything off and coming from back and being able to run onto them, I think he enjoyed that.”
Casey said some tinkering after a disappointing Australian Guineas performance brought about Saturday’s result.
“A win is a win so we’re pretty happy with that,” Casey said.