Former Royal doing Just Fine in Australia

He made his name in England as King Charles III’s first winner, and now Just Fine looks destined to put his name in lights in Australia.

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained import made it two wins from as many local starts with an outstanding victory over a classy field in Saturday’s Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.

After racing handy to a solid speed, Just Fine quickened again on straightening, bounding clear to beat Benaud by 1-3/4 lengths with Montefilia another half-neck away, the winner’s time of 2:00.39 just .09 seconds outside Hampton Court’s nine-year-old track record.

Bott said he had never had a horse adapt to Australian conditions as rapidly as Just Fine, who now races in local ownership and whose next target is the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) in two weeks.

“I haven’t seen one adjust that quickly before,” Bott said.

“Fitness-wise he’s been pretty forward in those first runs but I think he can still get further, well and truly.

“That’s the exciting part. If you’ve got a horse that’s got that natural speed, that lovely cruising speed that can be so effective at that class at a mile, and then sustain that over further, that’s great signs going forward.”

Just Fine has rocketed into $3.50 favouritism for the Metropolitan after his Kingston Town triumph and while he isn’t nominated for the Caulfield Cup, he does hold a Melbourne Cup entry.

Winning jockey Regan Bayliss was full of praise for the horse, who absorbed heavy pressure before the home turn before finding another gear.

“He’s a serious horse and he’ll keep getting better,” Bayliss said.

“He was a bit above himself in the mounting yard, never really took a deep breath, and then from the 800 metres (rival) King Frankel came outside of us going a million miles an hour.

f”It set him alight, but to his credit he still gave a kick. That’s the sign of a good horse.”

Just Fine has 50kg in the Metropolitan but is eligible for a penalty.

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