Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Diminutive pacer Awaitinginstructions enhanced his reputation as a standing-start specialist when he won the $20,250 Direct Trade Supply Maddington Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and his trainer Matt Scott said that he would be setting the Victorian-bred five-year-old for the $50,000 Easter Cup, a stand over 2902m on April 15.
“His main aim is the Easter Cup, and the distance won’t worry him,” said Scott after Awaitinginstructions had rated a smart 1.57.2 to set a track record for a stand over 2096m. This lowered the record rate of 1.57.4 set by Lawrence when he beat Medieval Man by a half-head on April 23, 2021.
Awaitinginstructions has had 23 starts in Western Australia for 13 wins and six placings. Seventeen of those starts were in stands, and they produced 11 wins, two seconds, three thirds and an eighth placing. His first three starts were in New Zealand, resulting in one placings, a well-beaten second in a 2200m mobile event at Cambridge in October 19.
Awaitingstructions was an $8.70 chance on Friday night when he began speedily from the 10m mark and settled down in third place on the pegs — behind Major Artist ($5.50) and the Scott-trained Gee Smith ($3.40). The $2.05 favourite Ima Fivestar General galloped from the 10m and lost almost ten lengths before he quickly made up ground and settled in seventh position in the field of eight.
Major Artist set a fast pace and the first three quarters of the final mile were run in 29.4sec., 28.4sec. and 28.7sec.
Mitch Miller eased Awaitinginstructions off the pegs in the back straight in the final lap and then was forced three wide when Chris Lewis took Gee Smith off the pegs in a bid to overhaul the pacemaker Major Artist.
Gee Smith took a narrow lead with about 100m to travel, but he was unable to hold out Awaitinginstructions, who sustained a strong burst to win by a neck, with a final 400m in 29.4sec.
Miller has formed a splendid association with Awaitinginstructions. He has driven the Courage Under Fire gelding six times for five wins and a third placing.
Scott indicated that it had not been all plain sailing with Awaitinginstructions, saying: “He’s had a million feet troubles, and Ascot farrier Steve Routledge has done a wonderful job to get him back racing.
“Awaitinginstructions had a seedy toe in the off front hoof and he had it cut out in January last year. And he had it cut out early this year and had to be scratched from the Northam Cup. He now has about only three quarters of his off front foot, and you can’t put any nails in the hoof unless you use Equilox (liquid nails) and a foot cast. He also wears special pads on both front feet to prevent jarring.”
Awaitinginstructions won the 2680m Busselton Cup in January and then had further hoof problems which prevented him out of action for six weeks and two days before he resumed racing and won the Williams Cup, a 2666m mobile event, on March 6.
“He is a good beginner and the way the race was run worked out perfectly,” said Miller. “I went (forward) before Gee Smith, and then he came out, and coming out of the back straight I was wide for longer than I wanted to be. But at the top of the straight I pulled the plugs and Awaitinginstructions had a good little kick left.”
Awaitinginstructions is the eleventh foal out of Indigenous, who earned $112,245 from 14 wins (12 in Victoria, one in New South Wales and one in Tasmania) and three placings from 21 starts. Indigenous’s best performance was her second to Oaxaca Lass in the group 1 Australian Oaks at Moonee Valley in August 2002. The best of her progeny has been her second foal, Life Inthefastlane, who raced 74 times for 18 wins, 20 placings and $264,566 in prizemoney. Her most important victory was in the Queen Of The Pacific Classic at Melton in May 2011.