Pagan scores at Sandown

Named after a dual AFL premiership winning coach, Pagan looks set for a promising career after scoring at Sandown.

Having his second race start, Pagan took out the Ladbroke It Plate (1300m) on Wednesday to give jockey Brett Prebble the first two winners on the program.

Easing late in the betting to start the $2.60 favourite, Pagan held off Newly Wed ($3.90), and then survive a protest, to score by a short-neck with Midivani ($11) a further 1-½ lengths off third.

Pagan is a son of Shamexpress from the Entrepreneur mare Spray, hence where the three-year-old got his name.

As coach of the North Melbourne AFL team, Denis Pagan, himself now a trainer at Flemington, was known for giving his players a “spray”.

Pagan, the trainer, shares the hut at Flemington of Pagan, the horse, trainers Ben and Jd Hayes.

Ben Hayes was taken with the win of Pagan and impressed with gelding’s turn of toot.

“It looked to me that he hit the front and thought that he had done his job and went to pull up a bit,” Hayes said.

“We were holding our breath in the last 25 metres, but he’s got stacks of talent.

“It is really good to get the win for Peter Lam, a new owner for us and he will be thrilled with the result.”

Prebble had planned on riding Pagan closer to the speed on Wednesday, but after a slow beginning had to resort to Plan B.

“He’s still very new, raw and it was his ability that got him through,” Prebble said.

“He’s got a beautiful action, a beautiful stride, but he’s still a bit dumb.

“I think racing is going to be his best friend for him to get that experience and for the penny to drop.

“I thought he was going to really put them away and win by panels, but he got there, got onto the rail and then battle on his own and he’ll be better when he’s got a bunny to chase.”

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