Doubtland winning at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)
Impeccably bred colt Doubtland increased his value with the promise of a major pay day for connections drawing closer by winning the $200,000 Group 2 Seppelt Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Awkwardly placed in the second half of the pack under Willie Pike, Doubtland ($7) burst between runners and stretched his neck with intent over the final 200 metres to win by three-quarters of a length. Amish Boy ($41) finished second, with Ranting ($13) a further short-half head away in third.
The Not A Single Doubt colt, out of Villa Verde's half-sister Miss Sharapova, was purchased by Orbis Bloodstock for $1.1 million as a yearling and will be worth significantly more if he claims a G1 race this spring.
The $1m G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Derby Day (October 31) appears his logical spring assignment.
But Wayne Hawkes, who trains Doubtland in partnership with his father John and brother Michael, declared that he wasn't sure what the future holds, a year after the trio prepared the Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Exceedance.
"He's an expensive colt with a hell of a pedigree, he's got two Golden Slippers (winners) in his pedigree, he's the real deal, this bloke," Hawkes said.
The win provided Pike with the most significant of four Stakes victories in Melbourne, which also sits alongside his triumph aboard Regal Power in the $5m All-Star Mile at Caulfield in March.
"They just said 'He's got an engine and we think he's the real deal', and he had to be," Pike said.
"I was just a bit hampered and by the way he accelerated and really attacked through the line, it was a nice effort."