Jigsaw bounces back in the Hareeba Stakes at Mornington

Jigsaw’s first crack at the top level as an older horse didn’t work out how connections would have hoped, but Cindy Alderson remains hopeful he might yet retire a Group 1 winner after the gelding rebounded to claim Saturday’s Hareeba Stakes at Mornington.

The four-year-old son of Manhattan Rain was an emphatic winner of the $200,000 Listed event over 1200 metres.

The victory made it five wins from six starts this season for Jigsaw, who won the Group 2 Australia Stakes before a 10th placing in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes on March 24, and while Alderson said he was now bound for a spell, the Cranbourne trainer remains hopeful of a top-level win.

“He’ll go out now, it was always the intention to go out after this race, and he’ll have nearly two or three months off,” Alderson said.

“It worked well for him last time and we’ll see where he fits in the spring. I don’t think he’s quite at the top level, but he might pinch (a Group) 1 somewhere.”

A speedy two-year-old who started $11 when eighth in the Blue Diamond Stakes won by Artorius, Jigsaw won two restricted races as a three-year-old before rising to another level at four.

His first start this season realised victory in the feature sprint at Cranbourne on Cup Day before back-to-back Listed wins in the Doveton Stakes and Christmas Stakes at Sandown on Boxing Day ahead of his Australia Stakes effort.

The Hareeba Stakes worked out well under the handling of now-regular jockey Daniel Moor, who took him to the front and kicked for home early in the short straight.

At the line the 60kg topweight and $2.45 betr favourite held a comfortable two-length margin over The Inferno ($21), who was a short-half-head in advance of last year’s winner Not An Option ($9.50), in what Moor described as a meritorious performance.

“I wanted to slip them before the bend knowing we had that weight and our rivals a lot less weight than us,” Moor said.

“I didn’t want them getting to us and making it a challenge. He’s sustained a long run with weight.

“I’m very proud of the horse. He deserves it.”

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