Grand Promenade, ridden by John Allen (Image: Racing Photos)
Grand Promenade has earned a shot at the big time with the import to next try his luck in the Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington in two weeks after a strong all-the-way win over 2400 metres at Ladbrokes Park (Sandown Hillside) on Saturday.
Co-trainer Dave Eustace confirmed the Ciaron Maher stable was now likely to have three chances at the race that sends its winner on a ballot-free run to next spring’s Melbourne Cup as it is intended for Persan and the three-year-old Through Irish Eyes to also contest the 2800-metre race.
Grand Promenade had not won a race for more than a year, but Eustace said he felt the imported horse was at his best at 2400 metres and beyond and that people were judging him on performances over shorter distances.
"I think people were a bit unfair on him at his last two starts," he said.
"He’s a genuine mile-and-a-half horse and did very well to finish where he did over 2000 metres. I think things didn’t really go to plan in the spring.
"He ran well early in the prep but probably didn’t come up quite as well so he’ll improve again over a bit more ground and he’ll probably head to the Ramsden.
"He’s the right age group (five-year-old) and he’ll stay the trip no trouble at all. He’ll improve for going a bit further. We’ve got a few chances in the race and he’s one of them."
Ridden by John Allen, Grand Promenade set the speed over the 2400-metre trip and he was able to dictate to his rivals as he left them standing once he sprinted on turning for home.
On the line, Grand Promenade had a margin of two and three quarter lengths over Green Ivy with a short neck to Johandough in third place.
Allen was taken with the effort and said Grand Promenade was an improving horse:
"We know he’s a good stayer and he put the writing on the wall in the first two runs this prep and he backed that up today," he said. "Good to see him get the win.
"He didn’t go a whole lot wrong last prep. He was still learning. He’s still a work-in-progress and getting better so hopefully he can end up in a better race some day.
"He’s very clear-winded. He has no worries running that trip or even further. I’m sure some of those batter staying races, he might be in the mix further into his career."