The proof will come in what he does next time but Chat signalled he might be coming of age with his dynamic first-up win at Rosehill on Saturday.
Punter’s Intelligence sectional data showed the rising five-year-old recorded the meeting’s fastest last 600m of 33.36 in his last-to-first victory in the July Sprint (1100m).
He sustained quite a long run in rounding up the field, his 600m-400m of 10.91 was 0.03 outside the race best for that split then he reeled off 10.96 (400m-200m) and a last 200m of 11.49 – both about a length faster than the next best.
It was Chat’s first win since his first-up victory last preparation and he raced consistently in some good quality races through the spring and summer.
He’s yet to win, or place, second-up so how he performs next time around will tell us whether he’s gone up a notch or if this win was a peak, with a light weight, he can’t repeat. On his side is the fact he is more than capable of racing on speed and proven up to 1400m.
Godolphin’s Gaulois does have a superior second-up record so he’s a likely improver on a solid return, finishing fourth behind Chat.
The 1100m was always going to be short of his best but he worked home strongly with a 33.65 for his last 600m. He ran the fastest 600m-400m (10.88) then levelled out a bit with 11.11 (400m-200m) and a last 200m of 11.66.
Order Again put it all together, overcoming traffic early in the straight, to take out the Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) with easily the race’s best, by over two lengths, last 600m of 34.04.
He clocked the fastest 800m-600m (11.85) and 600m-400m (11.36) and despite being held up his 400m-200m of 11.25 was just 0.02 outside the race best before a final 200m of 11.43.
He’s soon to be an eight-year-old and perhaps races like the $1m The Gong and the Group 2 Villiers Stakes over a mile would be up his alley later in the spring.
Cuban Royale ran right up to his first-up effort to take out the Agency Real Estate Handicap (1200m) and he was strongest late with the fastest last 200m of 11.33.
His final 600m of 34.13 was 0.09 outside the race’s best and given he’s more than capable up to 1400m he could still have improvement.
Behind him Above And Beyond recorded a last 600m of 34.10 in a solid first-up effort and sixth placed Rule The World, having his first run for Mack Griffith, made a promising return with the fastest last 600m of 34.04.
He ran 11.08, a race best, from the 400m-200m and a last 200m of 11.43. His last win was at 1400m so it’ll be interesting to see what he can produce next time out.
The Quayclean Handicap (1300m), won by Frosty Rocks, was dominated by the on pacers and was a sprint home, with all but two horses recording a sub-34 last 600m.
So the effort of Ventura Ocean in fourth place first-up suggests he’s in for a successful prep. The Kris Lees-trained import clocked a race best last 600m of 33.56, including the fastest 400m-200m of 10.90.
Poetic Charmer posted the fastest last 200m of 11.32 in a much improved second-up effort and he should be able to hold his form now.
A couple more to note are Zoo Station, who had no luck again in the TAB Highway (1500m) running a last 600m of 35.66 which was just 0.10 outside the race best and she was badly held up for much of the straight; while Bazooka is closing on an elusive win with a race best 34.44 last 600m in the Bowermans Commercial Furniture Handicap (1500m).
Fastest last 600m: Chat 33.36
Watch Punter’s Intelligence with Ben Way, Brad Davidson and Brad Gray at 7pm on Tuesday on Sky Thoroughbred Central.