Sent out as one of the day's hottest favourites right across Australasia, Kiwi-bred gelding Detonator Jack lived up to those lofty expectations in style at Sandown on Saturday.
The Group One performer went the event as a winner of four of his six starts, and he had been narrowly beaten by Green Fly in his last-start appearance at Ballarat on November 19.
Saturday's rematch with that rival was a very different story as Detonator Jack unleashed an irresistible finish from second last as the -153.85 favourite, powering home over the top of Pounding to score by half a length. Green Fly finished another five lengths away in fifth.
Watch Detonator Jack win at Sandown
“He was workmanlike today, but in saying that he had a big job,” said Harry Coffey, who rode Detonator Jack for trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. “At the 800, I looked up and was a fair way off them.
“I just pulled out and made my own run without getting a cart into the race, which is very hard for horses to do – you have to make a run around them on the circle, and then you've got the big, long straight here at Hillside and you have to chase them down the whole way.
“He got there with a relative bit of ease, and then he does have a good look around once he gets to the front. He's always been a little bit of a lad, and he's still got a couple of those quirks there. So even though he didn't win by much, he still had a bit in hand. He's just workmanlike and gets it done.”
Detonator Jack has now had seven starts for five wins and two placings, which includes a close third in the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville in May. He has earned $304,500 in stakes for Darren Dance's Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock.
Bred by Craig Dunphy and his wife Steph, Detonator Jack is a son of the late Jakkalberry and the No Excuse Needed mare Red Delicious, who is also the dam of the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) winner Madison County.
Detonator Jack was offered by Prima Park during Book 1 of Karaka 2020, where he was passed in with a reserve of $100,000.
Detonator Jack was the second New Zealand-bred winner in a row on Saturday's Sandown card, following on from the highly promising Tasman Park in the Thoroughbred Club Australia Handicap (1600m). Trained by Mike Moroney, the four-year-old Ocean Park gelding is now undefeated in three appearances and has earned $101,750.
The Peter Moody-trained Life Lessons rounded out a winning treble for NZ-bred runners when she burst away from her rivals in the last 200m to extend her current winning run to three in a row when taking out a Benchmark 78 1400m contest.