Hawkesbury trainer Scott Singleton could have taken Poet’s Advocate to the bush on Tuesday and run him at Orange. But he chose to keep the dashing front-runner closer to home and start him at Wyong yesterday to ascertain if he was a genuine 2018 Provincial Championships candidate.
Singleton got his answer when Poet’s Advocate produced another gutsy display to win Wyong’s newest race, the $50,000 Hudson Homes Class 4 Town Plate (1350m).
It was his third victory from his last four starts and earned him a brief holiday and a shot at the rich Provincial series in March, with the $500,000 final to be run over 1400m at Royal Randwick on April 14.
Jay Ford picked up a late ride when Christian Reith was unable to keep his booking and $14 chance Poet’s Advocate led throughout to hold off Francesco ($4.80), who tried hard but could not overhaul him.
In the process, Singleton underlined his training skills as his four-year-old had a “couple of little hiccups” after winning the Ted McCabe Class 4 Handicap (1500m) on his home track on November 9.
“I put him in the paddock for four or five days after that race and he was probably getting a stitch late today,” he said.
“He can have a short break now, and we’ll give him his chance in the Provincial Championships series.”
The $150,000 heats at each of the five provincial tracks will be run on consecutive Saturdays in March, with the Hawkesbury heat to be run over 1400m on the second Saturday (10th).
Poet’s Advocate has certainly proved a bargain buy. Singleton purchased him as Lot 367 for only $14,000 at the 2015 Inglis Classic yearling sale and syndicated him amongst stable clients. He has now won five of his 18 starts, and earned more than $126,000 for his group of owners.
“He is a lovely sound horse who had a few little quirks at the barriers, but he has been fine since putting a blindfold on him,” Singleton explained.
Singleton opted for blinkers after Poet’s Advocate resumed and finished seventh of nine runners in a 1300m Class 2 Handicap at Kembla Grange on September 17. The move has clearly done the trick. Poet’s Advocate has subsequently won three of his four starts, beginning with a Class 2 Handicap (1400m) at Newcastle on October 7. Not only has he led throughout, but he has started at double figure odds on all three occasions.
Winning rider Jay Ford had not been aboard Poet’s Advocate before and said the gelding was a tough customer although only little.
“Scott (Singleton) gave me a good insight into him, and he responded gamely when challenged,” he said.