Craig bounces back at Flemington

There was no sign of the obstacles that confronted Craig at Flemington on June 8 when he returned to Victorian racing headquarters on Saturday and the untapped import responded with a stress-free victory.

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained gelding justified his status as the shortest-priced favourite of the day with a soft win in the $150,000 Rod Johnson Handicap (1620m).

The son of Territories was ridden in a positive manner by Luke Currie, who encountered trouble getting a run in the straight two weeks ago, and the jockey said while that is not necessarily what best suits the three-year-old it was his best hope on Saturday.

“I don’t think I really rode him to his advantage, but I rode him to the race,” Currie said.

“I got shit-canned last week for getting beat on him and having no luck on him, so I tried to take that out of the equation today.”

Craig, who started $1.55 with betting apps, scored by 1-1/4 lengths from Rise At Dawn ($4.80), who was Craig’s conqueror on June 8, with Red Galaxy ($20) three-quarters-of-a-length away third.

The victory was Craig’s second win, following maiden success at Bendigo at what was his only Australian start before the unlucky Flemington effort, and Young said would now progress to the $150,000 Silver Bowl Final (1600m) on July 6.

But the Cranbourne stable is hopeful he will measure up to much bigger races down the track.

“I thought that was a great effort from the horse, he’s third-up and theoretically could have been three from three (in Australia),” Young said.

“He’s a nice horse with a lot of upside. You’ve got the final here on the 6th of July at a mile again, but I think when he can be ridden a little bit colder he can stretch out to 2000 metres later on.

“He’s just going to be a really exciting horse for the spring for our stable.”

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