Etymology (Image: Racing Photos)
Etymology signalled he may be ready to fulfil his destiny and win an elite staying race after toying with his rivals to secure an effortless victory in Tuesday’s Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) at Flemington.
The six-year-old seemed bound for higher honours when he was runner-up in both the Victoria Derby (2500m) and VRC St Leger (2800m) as a three-year-old, but the Godolphin stayer has struggled to go on with that form until the past few weeks where he has scored twice at Flemington.
"I wished we knew what has changed with him, but he’s a big, 'framey' colt a bit like his sire New Approach so perhaps it’s just taken some time to mature into himself," assistant trainer Kate Grimwade said after the race.
"He’s absolutely thriving on his racing and he just loves Flemington - I think he’s really come of age.’’
Etymology ran in four derbies as a three-year-old. He finished second at Flemington and ran fifth in the ATC Derby (2400m) at Randwick.
He then finished second in the South Australian Derby (2500m) before a seventh in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m).
But from there, Etymology lost his way so badly that he went winless for nearly three years until the stable sent him to the country town of Moruya last season in April, where he won just his second race start in a Class 1 Handicap.
Such was the performance from Etymology to break through and win nine days ago at Flemington, punters marked him as one of the best bets of the day and he certainly delivered.
After being smothered up on the rail behind the speed for much of the race, jockey Craig Williams produced the stayer once the field had turned for home and he strode clear to win by five lengths as the $2 favourite.
The consistent stayer Berisha ($7) ran on strongly for second place, one and a quarter lengths ahead of Crafty Devil ($31) in third place.
Grimwade said Etymology’s form this summer will force a rethink of his 2019 program.
"I don’t think we have any set plans with him but it might be a matter of giving him a freshen-up and see what the calendar throws up for him," she said.
WATCH: Etymology win the 2019 Bagot Handicap