It’s one thing to win a your maiden in good fashion but it is another to embarrass your competitors. That is what Sugar Pine did in the 1608m Maiden Plate at the Sapphire Coast on Monday.
The Andy and Sue Groves owned runner was in a race of his own, ridden hard for the lead by jockey Aaron Sweeney after missing the kick, and streaking away to win by 5.71 lengths, beating Congenial Mistress and Resolutions.
What made the win all the more impressive was the fact that the Mick Miladinovic trained runner clocked a slick 1:37.44, only two tenths off the older and more experienced Class Three horses in the other mile race.
Additionally, the five-year-old hit the line well, going 37.39 for the last three furlongs, more than seven tenths better than the horses in the same Class Three race.
Sweeney, who was aboard Sugar Pine for the first time in a race, liked what he saw from the Krupt gelding.
“He was very impressive; he is horse with a lot of ability that has never really seemed to be able to put it all together,” he said.
“He probably worked the best he ever has before his Sapphire Coast win and we were really confident that we could run in a more positive manner after his last start at Wagga.”
The Irish hoop, who has been in terrific form in the Southern Districts and South East of New South Wales, was always planning on taking the Tumut runner to the front and teaching him a new racing style.
“He missed the kick because that’s his racing style and I don’t think he has ever really learned how to put it together,” he said.
“That’s why we took him to the front and we now know he can lead and has the ability to go forward and hold that position in the first couple of runners.”
The 35-year-old is hoping to keep the ride aboard Sugar Pine as connections decide their next assault.
“He’s a big horse, he has a big stride and was still running through the line,” he said.
“I think Mick is happy to keep me on him after the win and the bit of work I’ve put into him, so I’m hoping to stay on board and keep working him out.
Sweeney also declared that Sugar Pine would make the staying trip in time.
“He will run through 2000m,” he said.
“I had a saddle full of horse when we finished, he just needs to keep learning.”
Miladinovic certainly wasn’t going to change jockeys soon and was already eyeing his charge’s next race.
“I spoke with Andy (Groves) yesterday and even though it is another short turn around, we have nominated for a Maiden/Class One at Wagga on Tuesday,” he said.
“Aaron (Sweeney) will be on board again, and if we draw a nice race and he continues to look well, we will head there.”