Alta Maestro bigger than Texas in Sires Stakes Heat win
It was crunch time as far as qualifying for this year's Sires' Stakes final on Cup Day went and top stable three year old Alta Maestro did not disappoint, leading from go to whoa in a superb front-running performance. He showed speed and toughness to hold out last year's champion two year old Spankem in an authoriative performance.
Robert has never made secret the respect that he has for the Art Major colt, that did so well in his two year old season. However, a setback over a month ago saw him race under-par in the Cambridge Sires' Heat. This was later attributed to a virus and the decision was made to head south to gain a qualifying spot for the final. In his first attempt at this a fortnight ago, a bad draw ruined his prospects, but a strong run for 5th, gave plenty encouragement to the team.
This week from a more handy frontline draw, there was only one option and that was to go to the top and keep rolling. Dexter was able to get to the lead easily but faced early pressure in a swiftly run first sectional. There was no let-up though as they then headed through the first quarter of the last mile in 28.8 and backed this up with a 28.1 as they headed through the half mile in 56.9. As the field headed past the 400m, Dexter appeared to still be swinging on the colt and immediately found a margin on the trailling runners. If there was going to be a challenger, it was Spankem which had enjoyed a perfect run three back throughout. He peeled wide turning for home and launnched what looked a winning run at the 150m. However, Alta Maestro was far from done and dug deep over the last 50m, holding out Spankem by a head. suitably impressing his driver.
"He had travelled well throughout," said Dexter. "Too well actually, as he was really keen early on."
"But after that he felt really super and I thought coming off the back he'd be hard to beat."
"While he was getting tired towards the end, he definitely lifted that last bit as Spankem got closer, so it was great effort."
With the full 1950m run in 2.17, this was definitely one of the fastest 1950m ever run by a three year old at Addington and was just 0.5 seconds off Ultimate Machete's New Zealand record set in the Sires Stakes on Cup Day 2016. He will now progress to take on the powerful Purdon/Rasmussen team in the final.
Henry Hubert was another stable runner expected to go well and did not disappoint either in running a close up 5th.
"He's going to be a really nice horse that fella," said driver Gavin Smith.
"He went a bit rough on me with just a lap to go when Ricky and Johnny came around, but paced really good after that."
After looming wide with his run at the 200m, Henry Hubert battled strongly for his 5th placing, beaten a nose out of a probable spot in the final, right on the line. Still a maiden, he has a good season ahead of him.
The final stable runner was The Brooklyn Brawler. It was always going to be tricky from his wide draw, but things looked to pan out alright as he got a ride into it on the back of Cullenburn with a round to go. However, as that runner was posted for the journey and started to flag on its run from the 700m, John was forced to go back to get in, making his task too tough on the night. He is another that will keep, once he gets back into a more suitable race.
Article by Mike Drury
Posted: Sat 04 Nov 2017