Trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr have posted their first Group winner from their new stables at Cranbourne after Blue Army proved too classy for his rivals to win the Gr.2 Sandown Guineas (1600m).
The three-year-old feature was contested at Caulfield for the first time, the base Price and Kent had previously called home prior to its closure as a training centre during the week, with plans afoot by the club for a second turf track for racing purposes and a host of commercial developments.
A New Zealand bred son of Waikato Stud stallion Savabeel, Blue Army was sent out an $18-chance as he took a significant step up from a maiden win at Warrnambool, but travelled like the winner from the moment the gates opened.
Given a gun ride by Damian Lane, Blue Army relaxed beautifully behind the leaders and presented at the right time to run out a half-length win from Blazehero with the favourite Festival Dancer a length away third.
“He’s our first winner from our new Cranbourne stable and he’s a beautiful colt,” Kent Jr said.
“It is a massive result because the owner has flown all the way from Singapore for the day and to get a win with him here is huge.
“We always thought he’d be better in the autumn, to be honest. We didn’t know if he would be going out after this run but we set him for the race.
“He was down at our Warrnambool stable initially and now at Cranbourne, so it worked out well.”
Lane said Blue Army had been well prepared and educated and had come on from his first-up win.
“I was able to use him a little bit early, put him in a spot and switch him off,” Lane said.
“Everything you want from a horse he did for me, and I knew I was the winner a long way out.
“I wanted to follow Festival Dancer. I knew it was going to be the one to lead. That was the plan and it looks good when it all works out. It doesn’t all the time but it did today.
“With the horse I had under me I was able to do that.”
Blue Army is the 121st stakes winner for Savabeel and yet another top-liner bred on the Savabeel – O’Reilly cross, the 23rd black-type winner bred on the nick.
Out of Keyarna Blue, the winner of the Listed Laelia Stakes (1600m) for Pat Hyland, Blue Army born and raised at Trelawney Stud on behalf of breeder Robert Anderson.
The colt is raced by Singapore-based owner Chua Song Ru of Aramco Racing. -NZ Racing Desk