Trainer Michael Freedman seems to have unearthed another promising sort in DEMON KING, an easy winner of the $75,000 Rocket Man Stakes for Restricted Maiden over the 1,400m on Sunday.
Backing up from a closing fourth at his debut in a 1,200m race two weeks ago, the No Excuse Needed three-year-old, who was again ridden by Danny Beasley, lived up to that encouraging first-up effort with a searching run from the 800m that saw him race away to an impressive three-length win from Aureus, Barend Vorster's mount.
Race favourite VOY, the mount of Ivaldo Santana, had every chance after travelling in the box seat in third, but did not flatten out as expected inside the last 200m. He stayed on for third, another half-a-length away.
A NZ$150,000 ($161,510) purchase as a yearling, Demon King races in the new black and pink silks of Madam Koh Siok Choo.
Freedman was not around to lead in his second winner of the weekend - Arrowhead, their sole Friday winner saluted - but assistant-trainer James Peters said the yard would have been disappointed if Demon King did not step up from his first run.
"He finished off strongly in a 1,200m race at his first start and we were expecting a good run from him today," said the Englishman.
"It was a bit of a worry when he was caught three deep, but he still hit the line strongly. We had a winner from one runner last Friday, and it's good to get another winner today."
Beasley, an avid student of form and pedigree, said he would have been surprised if Demon King, his 28th winner for the season, didn't run well.
"I was never concerned even though he was wide as he's a big horse with big long strides," said the Australian hoop. "If anything I would rather be on the outside than being cluttered up on the rails and having to go and look for a gap.
"I was very happy where he was. He was able to stride forward and improve from the 800m. He's not really a sit-and-sprint type of horse. He picks up on his momentum as he hits the line.
"That tells me he will get further, probably up to 1,600m and 1,800m. He is bred to stay as he is also a close relation to that very good mare Stephen Gray and his father Kevin had in New Zealand, Daffodil, who won the Australian Oaks."
Incidentally, the win on Demon King put Beasley level with Alan Munro in second place on number of wins behind Manoel Nunes.
This article was published on April 29 in The New Paper.
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