By Bren O'Brien
Co-trainer Adrian Bott hailed Unite And Conquer (Hinchinbrook) as potentially in the same league as Golden Slipper winners Vancouver, Pierro and Sebring after the colt's strong all-the-way win in the Magic Millions Wyong 2YO Classic.
Resuming off a two-month break since his debut win in the Listed Maribyrnong Trial at Flemington, Unite And Conquer looks to have returned an even better horse after dominating from the front to record a comfortable success.
He confirmed his favouritism for next month's $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast and Bott believes the best is still ahead.
"I think he is going to be a really special colt for us." - Co-trainer, Adrian Bott
"I think he is going to be a really special colt for us. He showed superior speed today, he raced a little bit fresh in the early stages first-up off the break, but the most pleasing thing is that there's still improvement to come," Bott, who trains in partnership with Gai Waterhouse said.
"He was dominant today, there's a lot of upside. As I said, he's a special colt and we were only just commenting before that he is showing all those qualities that those special colts do, the Vancouvers, the Pierros, the Sebrings. He's got a fantastic attitude and hopefully he's another one for us going forward."
Bott's faith in the colt looks well-justified based on the manner in which Unite and Conquer controlled the Wyong race and put it to bed early in the straight when he had most of his rivals under pressure.
The only horse to make ground on him was the Godolphin filly Exhilarates (Exceed and Excel), who cut the final margin to a 1.25l as Unite and Conquer drifted up the track late.
Spaceboy (Deep Field) tracked Unite And Conquer throughout the run, but was found wanting at the top of the straight and did well to hold onto third, 3.3l from the winner.
Jockey Adam Hyeronimus wasn't concerned by Unite And Conquer's slightly wayward manners late in the race and chalked it up to inexperience at just his second start.
"He's a very unassuming character and he's been like that the whole way along. Everything he does, he does properly. When you ask him to do a few new things, he hasn't done before, he's just a little bit new. Just late there, he wanted to run around a bit. but it was probably the track more than anything," he said.
"Everything he does, he does properly." - Jockey, Adam Hyeronimus
Bott also felt there would be natural improvement headed into the Gold Coast feature, especially given the size of the colt.
"He's a big imposing type. He's muscle on muscle and he's a real speed horse and you can see why he showed that dominance today," Bott said.
Gold Coast again for Problem Solver
Earlier in the day, Problem Solver (Hinchinbrook) caused a minor boilover in the Magic Millions 3YO & 4YO S. setting up another shot at a rich Gold Coast paycheque.
A winner of the Magic Millions Maiden at the Gold Coast back in January, Problem Solver swept down outside to claim her second win upsetting short-priced favourite Invincible Star (I Am Invincible).
"The favourite had an off day and she had a really good run this mare." - Blake Ryan, son of trainer Gerald Ryan
Blake Ryan, representing the stable of his father Gerald, said Problem Solver will now target the $1 million Magic Millions Fillies and Mares race next month.
"We thought she'd run to her best and we thought if the favourite was off her mark, we’d give her a run, but realistically with the favourite beating Deploy the other day and where this mare sits, we thought we could come here and genuinely run second," Ryan said after the race.
"The favourite had an off day and she had a really good run this mare."
Invincible Star led the race comfortably with easy sectionals, but when challenged by Problem Solver at the 200m mark, she had nothing in reserve, and ended up finishing third, with Bondi (Snitzel) working home well for second.
"We're off to the Gold Coast again. She won the maiden there last year running really slick time. She'll go to the fillies and mares and she’ll be hard to beat again," Ryan said.