Liqueuro, ridden by Jye McNeil, wins the Bendigo St Leger Trial (Image: Racing Photos)
The Cindy Alderson-trained Liqueuro earned the right for a first attempt in stakes company after winning the $135,000 Smartline Bendigo St Leger Trial (2200m) on Saturday.
Liqueuro ($6) was put into the race early by Jye McNeil and looped the field, holding off topweight Explosive Jack ($5) by three-quarters of a length with Salto Angel ($11) finishing third a further 3.25 lengths away, last year's G1 VRC Oaks runner-up winless from nine outings but minor placed in six starts.
"He got a little bit keen on me at about the mile mark when one rushed forward around me," McNeil said after Liqueuro won his third race from four starts.
"I was a little bit worried at that stage but he ended up coming back underneath me and really turned it into a staying contest from the 600-metre mark. He seems a nice stayer on the up.
WATCH: Liqueuro wins at Bendigo
“I think there’s still improvement there with the quick step up in distance so there’ll be no problems getting further in the future as he gets fitter and more seasoned.”
Alderson said Liqueuro, by Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente out of Galileo mare Little Darling, would have his next start in the $150,000 Listed Galilee Series Final (2400m) at Caulfield on April 10 ahead of the $200,000 Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington on April 25.
"It (Caulfield) won’t be the right track for him - he likes a big spacious track - then we’ll assess it from there," Alderson said.
“The plan has always been to be a (VRC) St Leger horse but I’ll talk to Jye, that was his first ride on him."