Sasko, ridden by Michael Poy, wins at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos/Natasha Morello)
If it seemed like Sasko took longer than usual to gallop down the Flemington straight on Saturday and pass the winning post it’s because he did.
The Matt Cumani-trained Sasko displayed endless amounts of stamina, aided by an intelligent Michael Poy ride to lead throughout in the $108,000 Rogan Josh Stayers Trophy (2500m).
The overall winning time of 2:41.7 was respectable – it was the quickest of four races over the distance range held on heavy ground since 2007 by over one and a half seconds.
However Sasko ($21), who rolled in the lead from halfway under Poy’s guidance, took his time down the straight clocking his final 200 metres in 13.71 seconds to win by 1.75 lengths from Good Idea ($11). Sin To Win ($8.50) ran the quickest final 200 metres of the race (12.71 seconds) to finish fourth.
There have been 16 races held over the distance at Flemington since January 2019, five of those on tracks Soft (7) or worse, and the final furlong of Sasko’s race of 13.71 seconds was the slowest since Jinda's victory at Flemington in August 2019 with a final split of 12.93 seconds.
“Michael (Poy) was clever because he didn’t just sit on him and wait for them to join him, he just made it a true test.
“He even got going at the 1300-metre mark. It just made it a grueling test and that’s what the horse wants.
“He loves it soft and I think he just gets through it so it makes it hard for the other horses particularly with his style of running.
“The wetter the better for him. There are some similar races coming up. We’ll just keep going,” Cumani added.
The next 2500-metre race at Flemington is the third heat of the Banjo Paterson Series on Saturday, June 6.
Peter Moody’s was unable to register his first Flemington winner since returning to training as the heavily backed Shepard ($3.20 favourite) finished tenth after floundering in the heavy (8) going.