Spend winning at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)
The $1.55 million colt Spend might have won, but once again it was Russian Camelot that was the talk of the race after messing up the start and finishing unplaced in The Nova100 Trophy (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The Northern Hemisphere-bred Russian Camelot gave away three lengths at the start and was beaten inside that margin when fourth behind Spend, but his trainer Danny O'Brien was anything but shattered after the race.
"He ruined his chances by getting away like that, but he was superb late," O'Brien said. "His sectionals are going to be the best of the race.
"We wanted him to settle midfield but as it was, he was out the back and then they slowed and he had to make a run early and they sprinted off the front.
"It was all about getting him started towards South Australia and you can see what an action he's got and what a horse he is.
"He doesn't run for another month. He'll either go to Caulfield (1600m) in a month or on the same day an 1800-metre race in Adelaide."
Russian Camelot started the $3.60 favourite ahead of Spend ($4.80), who had a length margin over Riddle Me That ($11), with Scottish Dancer ($9) close-up in third.
WATCH: Spend's win
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said Spend does not handle wet tracks so Sydney could be a problem for him this autumn.
"He doesn't like wet tracks and he's been messed around a bit," Hawkes said. "He was sort of set for the Guineas in Melbourne and then we thought about the Guineas in Sydney then it got wet.
"He's actually no good on them (wet tracks). He won on a heavy on his debut. but it was just his ability that got him home.
"Where we go now, I really don't know. It's not a Stakes race but it's a good race to kick-off.
"He's always shown a stack of ability this bloke and it's nice to get the job done."
Hawkes said that although Spend is yet to prove himself in Group company, he fancied he was among the better colts in a season where there are no standouts.
"We haven't seen a superstar two-year-old yet - the Sydney two-year-old (Farnan) won well - but it's the same with the three-year-olds," Hawkes said.
"We've got a hell of a lot of good three-year-olds and this bloke is right up there with them, make no mistake about that."