John O’Shea – the trainer of Kirwan’s Lane – knew he wouldn’t like the Heavy 9 conditions.
And that made his one-length victory in the $200,000 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) all the more classy in his second-up start.
Tom Sherry guided the five-year-old gelding to the front with 200m to go, and he showed good heart to salute from there.
2022 Hawkesbury Cup Replay
“I just felt like he needed to find the right part of the ground,” O’Shea told Sky Racing.
“So Tom did a great job to put him where he did.
“I don’t think he’s comfortable on that real heavy ground, but he was good enough to get through it.
“He’s got a great second-up record. He loves the mile and loves Tom Sherry.”
Because of the heavy-track conditions, O’Shea was content with the fact his sprinter found the front with 200m to go.
“I thought he was going to be in the finish at least. The ones around him probably lacked a bit of form,” he said.
“And if anything, he might’ve got to the front a little soon. But it’s hard to make up ground here today, so it was better to be where he was.
“He’s been a really good horse.”
Sherry believed a great finish was possible after rounding the turn in a good position to strike, after Archedemus (who fell back to 12th for Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes) led until then.
“He (Kirwan’s Lane) travelled beautifully – he took me into the straight very well. And I just thought it was a matter of time,” he said.
“But Hawkesbury is a daunting straight – when you think you’re home you’re not really home.
“He was a little hesitant to really give me his all when he hit the front. But he responded well and congratulations to John and a good bunch of owners.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”