Group 1 glory on Nation’s agenda
Co-trainers David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig might have found the key to Sovereign Nation if the five-year-old’s win at Flemington on Saturday was any guide.
The son of Encosta de Lago raced away to a 4.25-length win in the $100,000 VRC Member Graeme McMenamin Handicap (1400m) and Dabernig said the five-week break between runs might have been crucial to the horse producing his best form.
“He really loves being fresh,” Dabernig said.
“Today was perfect in the small field and he got to what looked the right part of the track and he let down and never looked like he was going to get beaten.
“He was a colt before this prep so I think the gelding has helped and he’s pretty straight-forward now.
“He’s a sound horse and if we space his races a little bit you’ll see him with that good turn of foot.”
Dabernig said Sovereign Nation would likely head towards a 1400m handicap at Caulfield in three weeks and could then be aimed towards races like the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) or the Toorak Handicap (1600m).
Jockey Regan Bayliss said things couldn’t have worked out better for Sovereign Nation in the run.
“Even though he had the big weight I thought Tally was the one to beat and he gave us a nice cart into the turn and I held onto him as long as I could and he really let down nicely,” Bayliss said.
“He just picked them up so easily.
“The way he’s going this preparation, with a light weight on his back I wouldn’t put it past him (running well in races like the Sir Rupert Clarke and Toorak Handicap).”