Alfa Oro (blue silks) holds off Spirit of Aquada (Image: Racing Photos/Natasha Morello)
Alfa Oro continued his impressive run of form when winning the Almandin Handicap (1100m) at Flemington on Saturday.
It was the third consecutive win for the four-year-old son of Bachelor Duke, who returned from an injury enforced two year layoff last month.
The Matt Laurie-trained gelding suffered a spiral fracture in a front leg during trackwork, requiring surgery and a 20-month absence from the track.
He resumed with a runner-up effort at Pakenham in April before going on to record a hat-trick of wins, culminating in Saturday’s result.
“To come back after a two year layoff and win like he has is a pretty good effort on his part,” Laurie said. “We had a big opinion of him early and it’s good to have him back.”
Handy to the speed throughout, Alfa Oro edged to the front with 300 metres to go and showed his dogged determination when holding off his attackers to win by a neck over Spirit of Aquada.
Laurie was pleased with his charge’s efforts and believed he handled the Flemington straight well and won with a little in reserve.
“It was a really good effort because he was under a bit of siege there and he showed a good amount of fight,” Laurie said.
“He looked a bit green, that last furlong and a half, but he is a really good horse.
“I thought he would (handle the straight) and he obviously did, but he still looked like he had the handbrake on a little bit towards the end.
“He is such a pro in everything he does, so I was happy to take it on.”
Laurie came across Alfa Oro at New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2017 Ready to Run Sale. He was immediately impressed with what he saw and went to $240,000 to secure him out of Regal Farm’s draft.
“He is a wonderful looking horse,” Laurie said. “I saw him at the breeze-ups in New Zealand and I didn’t have anyone to buy him, but I bought him anyway, fortunately.”
Laurie said he doesn’t have any immediate targets in-mind for the New Zealand-bred galloper, but he is excited about the prospects of the half-brother to multiple Group Three winner Home By Midnight.
“I just wanted to build up his rating and get a bit of money in the bank,” he said.
“I’m just trying to place him as best I can and we will see where we are at after this.”
Alfa Oro was bred by The Oaks Stud and was sold through their 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale draft for NZ$135,000.