Promising mare Sanstoc has earned her way back into stakes company after franking her first-up win with another powerful performance at Warwick Farm.
Trainer Mark Newnham confirmed the four-year-old would have her next run in the Group 3 Epona Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill on March 18 after producing a dynamic finish to come from last and win Wednesday’s Furphy Handicap (1400m).
It followed a classy return over the same distance on the Kensington circuit and Newnham said the mare was relishing firm tracks after struggling on wet surfaces during her three-year-old season, including when last to Mr Mozart on heavy ground in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes.
“We did have high hopes for her early days and I think we’re seeing a turnaround in her form just due to the good tracks,” Newnham said.
“She was winning on soft fives but the majority of her runs were on very heavy ground last year and we just had twelve months of it, so she lost a couple of preps through that.”
Sanstoc ($2.60 fav) looked to be in a sticky position approaching the home turn as leader Eberlee shot clear on the corner but jockey Tom Sherry didn’t panic and eased the favourite to the outside.
Once in the clear, Sanstoc finished with a flurry to defeat Whatsin ($13), who tried to go with her but was edged out late, with Kibosh ($6.50) third.
Sherry said the winner did a terrific job against the pattern of the day and would improve greatly once extended in distance.
“It was a tough effort on her behalf because I feel as though the track is racing a little bit on-speed and to the inside,” Sherry said.
“She didn’t begin as well as I would have liked her to but we got in a nice rhythm, we built nice momentum before the bend and I was really happy with how she knuckled down and toughed it out.
“She ran 1400 first-up and for her to do it again second-up is a bonus because when she gets over a mile and beyond we will see a better horse again.”
Sanstoc’s effort confirmed plans to run her in the Epona Stakes and Newnham has no fears about the steep rise in trip.
“You don’t get too many opportunities with these mares over a distance and the way she’s racing, if we get good ground on the day, I certainly won’t be scared to step her up to 1900, she was probably looking for a mile today (Wednesday),” Newnham said.
– RAS NewsWire