Invariably Boxing Day produces a star performer on the race track and 2020 was no different with the Mick Price and Michael Kent junior stable delivering an excitement machine in the Ken Sturt Handicap (1400m).
Having only his second start Ayrton overcame a wide run early before streaking away to win under a hold from jockey Jamie Kah putting 4¼ lengths on her rivals and clocking in at a slick 1.21.96.
After the race Mick Price immediately labelled Ayrton “a Group horse” and indicated that could well come as early as the autumn.
“He’s a group horse coming but he’ll go to the paddock now and we’ll have a think about what to do with him in the autumn,” Price said.
On debut Ayrton had set tongues wagging with a five length win at Bendigo and punters were expecting a similar performance at Caulfield, despite the son of Iffraaj stepping up in grade he was backed from $1.65 into $1.55.
“Each race is a test, it’s a very big effort to go up in class and distance at his second start and to do that,” Price said.
“I just thought (when) saddling him up in the mounting yard, pre-race, behind the gates, stressy, lightened off, and for him to still get challenged – I saw Teo (Nugent on Tanker) kicking up on the fence and three-deep for the first four or five hundred metres – he did relax midrace to a point.
“But for him to work away and run that time obviously he’s a group horse coming. I thought it was an outstanding win.”
The immediate future is up in the air though as the astute Price will take his time mapping out the geldings future.
While Price believes the Melbourne autumn may come a bit early that’s not to say the New Zealand-bred galloper may not put himself forward.
“Depending on what he does in the paddock, I’m obviously not going to bottom him out,” Price said.
“I’m hoping that he does well in a few weeks and we’ll have a look at him in the paddock and take it from there.
“He’s probably a typical Kiwi horse, they take their time to mature. He’s not got an Australian bright shiny coat on him at the moment, I think he’s a bit ribby and a bit tucked up.”
Jamie Kah was full of praise for the three-year-old; “He’s just raw talent at the minute. He doesn’t know how to quicken yet but his stride just lengthens. That’s a sign of a good horse,” the leading hoop said.
“He’s still doing a lot wrong. He’s sweating up behind the gates, he’s on the wrong leg around the turn but once he puts it together it is very exciting to see where he’s going to go.
“I said to Mick after the first win that this horse is going to be amazing over 2000 metres-plus. He was a bit highly-strung today but I think once the penny drops and he settles, I think over a bit of ground he’ll be very talented.”
Originally published asNew star on the rise for Price and Kent
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