Tactical Advantage has repaid his new owners with an immediate dividend and given Brenton Avdulla a fitting send-off overseas as Sydney’s premier jockey.
Having his first start for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees and syndicator Australian Bloodstock, Tactical Advantage dominated the finish of Saturday’s July Sprint (1100m) at Randwick.
Sent out at $4.20, Tactical Advantate beat stablemate Dal Cielo ($17) by 2-1/2 lengths, with 2-1/4 lengths to Easy Eddie ($5.50).
Lees’ right-hand man Cameren Swan admitted he was concerned when Tactical Advantage played up in the mounting yard but Avdulla said he relaxed well once he knew it was game on.
“He was a bit hot but once he got through the tunnel going onto the track he relaxed,” Avdulla said.
“In the race I just needed to get out from where I was. Kathy (O’Hara) on Memes in front was going nowhere.
“Once I got out it was race over.”
Tactical Advantage was formerly with James Cummings until he went to head up the Godolphin stable.
The gelding then spent time with Joe Pride before being bought by Australian Bloodstock and also undergoing a throat operation for an epiglottic entrapment.
“He has been working really well but I’m not sure what level he can get to,” Swan said.
“I don’t know what Kris has in mind after today.
“Dal Cielo was really good but he came to the stable with such a high rating, it became hard to place him.”
Dal Cielo was trained by Murray Baker in New Zealand, where he won the Group One Diamond Stakes as a two-year-old to earn his high benchmark.
Avdulla ended the day on 92 winners for the season, 15 ahead of Blake Shinn, with two meetings left in Sydney for 2017/18.
The jockey had a sizeable lead last season but was attacked in the past few weeks by Hugh Bowman who eventually hit the front.
There is no danger of that happening this year and Avdulla will miss the last two meetings as he and fiancee Taylor Paine take a European holiday before he takes up a contract in Japan.
“I’ll see how it goes how long I stay in Japan,” Avdulla said.
“It it’s going well I may stay a bit longer but I expect to be back for some part of the carnival if I have some good rides.
“I’m very happy to leave with a winner for Kris Lees, who has been among my biggest supporters along with Hawkes Racing, Godolphin and Chris Waller.”
Avdulla left Randwick with a four-meeting careless-riding suspension, which is inconsequential to his Japanese stint.