Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Eighteen Carat, a recent arrival from New Zealand, gave champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr a tough time at her Australian debut when she hung out for much of the way before winning the 2130m Bringing Home The Bacon Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Hall had to work hard to get the Mach Three five-year-old to the front after 900m, and then the mare hung out badly in the home straight before fighting on to win by almost a length from Booraa.
Eighteen Carat, trained by Michael Young, was the $1.40 favourite from barrier four, and Hall did not bustle her early while Newsletter ($21) and All The Bells ($17) began speedily, and the lead time was a solid 36.7sec.
“I didn’t rush her because I knew that the ones inside of her would have a bit of a dispute for the lead,” said Hall. “So, I thought I’d wait and then work across. She had to do a bit more than I thought she would to get to the front. She was a little bit lazy and wanted to hang out all the way. I didn’t pull the plugs, mainly because I couldn’t risk taking a hand off the reins.”
Despite her hanging, Eighteen Carat dashed over the final 400m in 28.6sec. and rated 1.56.4. She certainly has a good share of ability and should develop into a leading contender for the $50,000 Empress Stakes on April 1 and the $30,000 Race For Roses on April 29.