Saintorio firmed for a Melbourne autumn carnival assault after capping his Ascot campaign with a tough victory in the Sir Ernest Lee-Steere Classic (1400m) on Saturday.
Ridden by Brad Parnham, Saintorio ($3.10 favourite) overcame traffic problems early in the straight to gun down All The King’s Men ($3.70) by a head.
Aizya ($26), ridden by star Victorian hoop Jamie Kah, was close behind in third.
Saintorio successfully backed up after his brave third to Amelia’s Jewel in the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) a week earlier.
Trainer Stephen Miller is keen to set the Oratorio gelding for Melbourne features next year, including the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington in March.
“He never left an oat during the week and we drew a good barrier, so there was no reason why we shouldn’t run him,” Miller said.
“I was a bit worried coming to the turn.
“He’s probably a better horse on the outside where he can roll into the race himself. I could see he was travelling, but he was getting held up. He pushed through and luckily he got up and won.”
Parnham, who also won the Lee-Steere Classic on Kissonallforcheeks in 2020, said class prevailed.
“I just had to be patient enough to get outside of Damien Oliver’s heels,” Parnham said.
“You’ve got Pikey (William Pike), Paul and Ollie (Oliver), they’re not going to give you a centimetre, so I was never going to punch my way through a gap there.
“When he got the run, he’s not really a horse with a lightning turn-of-foot, so he was pretty tough to get the job done today.”
Saintorio boosted his record to five wins from 13 starts.
Meanwhile, Marocchino won the AJ Scahill Cup (2100m) for the second straight year after leading all the way under 60.5kg.
Backing up from the Railway Stakes seven days earlier, Marocchino ($5.50) led and fought off a challenge from former Perth Cup winner Neufbosc ($18) to score by a long neck.
Chili Is Hot ($17) was third and Pure Devotion, the raging $2.05 favourite, was a disappointing sixth.
“I’m sorry to disappoint the crowd that they weren’t cheering Willie (Pike, rider of Pure Devotion) home, but we didn’t really give a bugger about Willie today, we were worried about our horse and I think there were a few cheering him as well,” Marocchino’s trainer Lou Luciani said.
“This is the fourth time he’s backed up week-to-week and it’s the fourth time he’s won.”
Marocchino, a winner at 10 of 44 starts, is likely to contest the Perth Cup (2400m) on January 1.
Boom sprinter Bitofmerit made a stylish return when winning a 1000m handicap, boosting his record to four wins from five starts for trainer Michael Campbell.
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Source by [earlynews24.com]