Stakes winner Power Scheme has kicked off his Victoria Derby campaign on a winning note at The Valley in his first start since being gelded.
Beginning his spring campaign over 1500m in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Odds Boost Exotics Handicap, last season’s Listed Fernhill Handicap winner settled midfield under jockey Mark Zahra before edging past stablemate Conqueror early in the home straight.
Power Scheme ($7.50) defeated Conqueror ($4.60) by a half-length with a short head to Skiddaw ($5.50) third.
Co-trainer Ben Hayes was impressed by Power Scheme’s first-up win under 60kg – his first start since finishing midfield in the Group One Champagne Stakes at Randwick in April – and is convinced he will only improve as the spring progresses.
“He wasn’t wound up at all,” Hayes said.
“He had a big weight and he did it really nicely, so he’s really exciting and he’s on that Derby path now.”
Three-year-old Power Scheme is likely to head to the Group Two Stutt Stakes (1600m) at the Valley later this month before stepping up in distance towards the Victoria Derby (2500m).
Power Scheme is by Fiorente out of Rosa Perlato and Hayes is hoping the gelding can go on to reach even greater heights as a three-year-old in Australia than his older brother did last season before he was sold to Hong Kong.
“He is Hawkshot’s brother,” Hayes said.
“We had a big opinion of Hawkshot and hopefully this guy is a bit better.”
Hawkshot won a Group Two Autumn Stakes for the stable in February before finishing second in the Group One Australian Guineas to Mystic Journey in March.