Queensland trip beckons for impressive Ayrton

Mick Price will approach Ayrton’s impending Brisbane Winter Carnival will more enthusiasm than he might have heading into Saturday’s Caulfield card after the gelding was able to surprise him in the Victoria Handicap.

Ayrton was having his first start since the serious spider bite ailment that prematurely ended his spring campaign and Price had openly declared in the lead up to his return that he thought he would be vulnerable.

The Cranbourne trainer will now head to next month’s Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) full of confidence.

“He had one 1200-metre trial, we were trying to fit a race into a Queensland program for him, so usually I don’t come to the races without two trials and I thought ‘well, he’s going to be underdone’,” Price said.

“But it was a beautiful ride and the race worked out perfectly. He never spent a penny and just had a nice pace in front of him and stuck his head out.

“I was wrong and I’m quite happy about it.”

Ayrton and Jamie Kah enjoyed a sweet run behind leader Streets Of Avalon and was bailed away when the field swung for home before surging through a gap that presented to the outside of Streets Of Avalon at the 250m.

The $2.80 favourite edged away late to score a 1-1/4-length win over game 59kg topweight Streets Of Avalon ($13), who carried 5kg more than Ayrton, with the fast-finishing Excelida ($81) a half-head back third.

Kah said the race worked out ‘perfectly’ from barrier two and said the son of Iffraaj, who has now won six of his eight starts, felt like he has come back better.

“I wanted to wait and give him the cosiest run I could and everything turned out perfectly for him,” Kah said.

“But he still had to do it and really accelerate through the gate and he’s come back probably better than he was last time I rode him.”

Ayrton’s win impressed TAB, which promoted him to $3.50 second favourite in its Doomben Cup market, which is headed by Zaaki ($2.30).

The Victoria Handicap was the first leg of a winning double for Price and his training partner, Michael Kent Jnr, who won the final event with recent stable acquisition Son Of Emperor.

He too was ridden by Kah, who celebrated a Black Type treble, having earlier won the Listed Elvis Thurgood Galilee Series Final aboard Mamounia.

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