Exceedance has chased down spring rival Bivouac to land the most important win of his brief career in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington.
Favourite Bivouac had taken the lead in the Group One race for three-year-olds at Flemington on Saturday with the Hawkes Racing-trained Exceedance in hot pursuit.
Although Exceedance had lowered the colours of Bivouac in the San Domenico Stakes at Rosehill in August, the Godolphin colt had the better of Exceedance in two subsequent starts.
But the Hawkes team did their homework, dispatching Exceedance to Melbourne early to give the colt experience down the Flemington straight ahead of Saturday’s race.
It worked as Exceedance ($3.80) under Dwayne Dunn wore down Bivouac ($3.40) to score by a long neck with Libertini 1-1/2 lengths away in third place.
Exceedance is owned by a list of long-time Hawkes Racing supporters including Vinery Stud and Rupert Legh.
“It’s raining but I reckon it’s sunny,” co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said.
“It was grand final day for us and when Dwayne was stalking back on the inside, I thought ‘have a look at this, there’s plenty of room to go on the inside’.
“It was great to get the job done for the Vinery boys who have been good supporters of ours.
“To have made Brutal a stallion earlier in the year and now this bloke, it’s a big, big effort to get two boys into The Hunter coming up.”
Hawkes said Exceedance was booked to return to Sydney on Monday and is unsure what the immediate future holds.
He said there was little between the three placegetters who have again all excelled and franked their form.
“On their right day, there’s not much between them and whether they meet again, I don’t know,” Hawkes said.
“The autumn is an eternity away, so to win this race, a first, is great.
“These horses could be Everest horses next year. They could stretch out, but they’re sprinters.”
Dunn said he followed Libertini and Bivouac in the race believing they were his main threats.
“It worked out perfectly,” Dunn said.
Anthony Cummings, trainer of Libertini, said the filly would now be spelled.
“She ran well. A couple of colts beat her but she beat the rest easily enough,” Cummings said.
“We’ll come back next time bigger and stronger again.”