Don't Blush Baby (Image: Racing Photos)
When you've got a grey horse who can run 1400 metres, the Off The Track Subzero Handicap at Flemington on Knnedy Oaks Day stands out as a target race.
And Don't Blush Baby hit the bullseye for Caulfield trainer Henry Dwyer and connections when he scored an all-the-way win in Thursday's $120,000 Benchmark 90 event.
Dwyer was concerned the five-year-old son of Demerit was going to miss a run in the race, but those fears were allayed when the fields came out on Monday, with the gelding on the 54kg limit weight, and having to cut it fine ended up working in his favour.
"It has been a long-range plan and I would have liked to have won a race with him between the start of the year and now, but as it's turned out it's probably beneficial for this race, getting in on the minimum," he said.
"It's not the most vintage renewal of this race, but they can only put them on and we can only turn up and the horse has done a terrific job from pretty humble beginnings."
Don't Blush Baby ($7.50 into $6), who stretched his record to three wins from 10 starts, relished a positive ride from James McDonald to score by a length from Our Girl Silke ($6), with Andaz, who was backed from $4.60 into $3.40 favourite, three-quarters of a length away third.
The win atoned for a frustrating start to the day for McDonald, who was nosed out in the first race and finished third and fourth in Races 2 and 3, and the top jockey praised Dwyer's training performance with the galloper, who was coming off a BM64 third placing at Cranbourne.
"I actually thought I won the first," McDonald said.
"But this horse, he was well primed for today and credit to the Henry Dwyer stable, they've done a marvellous job with him."