By Duane Fonseca
Godolphin Australia head trainer James Cummings saluted Pericles for making a “faultless” return to action after his three-year-old career ended with narrow Classic misses.
The now four-year-old Street Boss gelding was a nose back in second in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas in March after comfortably landing the Group 2 Autumn Classic at Sandown a month earlier. Then, having finished ninth in the Group 1 Australian Derby at Randwick in April, Pericles was dropped in class, but still couldn’t hit the target in the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate at the same venue on soft ground.
However, returning to action following a 13-week break in August, Pericles quickened late to win a 1400m handicap at Rosehill before making all in the Group 2 AMD Medical Tramway Stakes over an identical distance at Randwick on Saturday. After winning the early battle to set the pace in the hands of Zac Lloyd, Pericles took each pole first and comfortably held off his challengers to win with a length to spare from Chris Waller’s Skyman, the ride of Brett Prebble. A further three fourths back in second was Kerry Parker’s Hope In Your Heart with Tyler Schiller up.
Victory turned out to be Pericles’ fourth in 11 career starts, his record including a further three seconds and a third.
Trainer Cummings was full of praise.
“Full credit to Zac (Lloyd), who got the horse into a beautiful rhythm from the barrier, and he didn’t worry about being too close in the run. Pericles has just come back in faultless fashion. Two out of two this prep and he’s enjoying himself,” said Cummings, who could have enjoyed a Group race double had In Secret found a little bit extra under Lloyd in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes over 1000m.
As it turned out Remarque (Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes/Tyler Schiller) won by a half length from In Secret with Bella Nipotina (Maher-Eustance/Ben Melham) a further head back in third.
Meanwhile, Lloyd enjoyed a pair of Group Two triumphs on the card with Pericles’ success following the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace co-trained Tiz Invincible’s three fourths of a length win in the 1200m Darley Furious Stakes. Kimochi was second for trainer Gary Portelli and Jason Collett, with Mumbai Muse a further neck back in third for Michael Freedman and Prebble.
The third Group Two event on the card, the Daily Press Chelmsford Stakes over a mile, was won by David Payne’s Navajo Peak by a half length in the hands of Chad Schofield. Major Beel, trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, was second under Joshua Parr with Parker’s Think It Over a further nose back in third under Nash Rawiller.