By Glenn Davis
Talented Sydney youngster Commander burst into contention for next week’s Group 1 J J Atkins with a dominant victory in the Listed The Phoenix Stakes at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
Commander gave jockey Dean Yendall and armchair ride when he travelled just behind the leader before going to on down Grim Reaper by two lengths.
Commander, a son of former champion juvenile Pierro, went into the Listed feature as a maiden with one placing in two starts.
Trainer John Thompson said the J J Atkins, which is run over the same 1600-metre trip, was a strong possibility for Commander.
“He was good today but he’s still very new and raw and probably six months away,” Thompson said.
“We brought him here thinking a trip away would be very good.
“Now that he’s won there’s the lure of backing him up next week (J J Atkins) but we’ll see how he pulls up first.”
Meanwhile quality filly Miss Exfactor was on her best behavior to land her fourth win from seven starts in the QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap (1000m).
Ridden by Jim Byrne, Miss Exfactor hit the lead half way down the straight before powering on to down Envy Of All by one length.
Trainer Tony Gollan predicted the daughter of Your Song will come back a stronger mare next preparation and will be aimed the Black-Type fillies and mares race during the summer.
“She’s hard to handle but she enjoys this time of the year when she can get her toe into the ground,” Gollan said.
“She’ll poke along in this sort of grade for the time being but you’ll see her in the fillies and mares race in the summer.”
Miss Exfactor was a $65,000 buy at the Magic Millions sales and has now won more than $165,000 in prizemoney.
Earlier Team Snowden got punters off to a flying start at the meeting when Spending To Win easily won the Class Six Plate (1000m).
Co-trainer Peter Snowden believed Spending To Win’s victory will hopefully prove a confidence booster after claiming his third win in 18 starts.
“I was going to take him to Scone until I looked at the program and saw this race,” Snowden said.
“I thought if he can’t win this we’re in real trouble.
“It was a good confidence booster. He’ll have a break now and come back in the spring a more mature horse.”
Racing Queensland webnews June 2