Rhinoceros, ridden by Jordan Childs, wins at Sandown Hillside (Image: Racing Photos)
Rhinoceros and Barb Raider will be prepared for Classic trials at Flemington in a fortnight after winning their first races over 1600 metres at Sandown Hillside on Wednesday.
Rhinoceros, a colt by Vadamos, led throughout at his third Australian start for Kiwi trainers Emma-Lee and David Browne.
Less than an hour later Barb Raider, a daughter of 2008 Victoria Derby winner Rebel Raider, was brilliant in scoring by 3.5 lengths off a sit-sprint tempo.
Only a few seasons ago the Victoria Racing Club created Spring Classics Preview Day, a late-September mid-week fixture which includes Penfolds Victoria Derby and Kennedy Oaks Trials over 1800m. Both of Wednesday's winners, along with several beaten runners, are anticipated to race in those $75,000 events.
"We've had a long-term plan and today, it cemented what we've always thought of her," Barb Raider's trainer Jerome Hunter said, confirming plans to proceed to the Kennedy Oaks Trial.
WATCH: Barb Raider wins at Sandown Hillside
Barb Raider ($2.60 favourite) raced outside the leader Rarzino ($41) and took over with 400m remaining, running her last 400m in 22.22 seconds.
"I actually waited for quite a long time (to go for home) because the only time she got to the front in her races was on pulling up and when she got in front you can see why she's got headgear and needs a pony - she looks around for things," said winning jockey Craig Williams.
"Today, she was just determined and didn't want another horse to get near her, which is a great feeling."
Barb Raider's overall time was 0.3s slower than Rhinoceros ($4.40 favourite), who ran the mile in 1:38.50 on the Good 4 surface, winning by 1.25 lengths from the eye-catching Blackcomb ($5.50).
Rhinoceros ran fourth in a Cranbourne maiden over 1400m before backing up seven days later at Sale and finishing second to Sharper over 1529m.
Jordan Childs was having his third-consecutive ride on Rhinoceros and suggested he will be suited by a greater-sized field for the Victoria Derby Trial.
"He does everything pretty right," Childs said. "He does get keen in his races and every start we've wanted to take a sit on and see if he could attack the line, but he just begins so well out of the gates and he's just been in races where there's been no speed.
"He feels like a horse who can sustain a gallop. If he can get a bit of tempo in a race with a bunny to follow, that would be even better. He's going in the right direction."
WATCH: Rhinoceros wins at Sandown Hillside