Pondus here to stay after Flemington romp

Imported stayer Pondus indicated with an easy win in Saturday’s $200,000 The Regal Power (2000m) that he might be poised to deliver on the promise he showed since first coming to Australia from England, but it might not be in the race most normally associate with the colours he carries.

Co-owner Nick Williams, son of Lloyd, who has won more Melbourne Cups than any other owner, said the team now believes he is not a ‘two-miler’.

Pondus first came to Australia in the spring of 2020 when he finished second in the Bendigo Cup (2400m) and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) before last year returning to Europe for three starts, the last of which was a second placing in the Group 2 Curragh Cup (2816m).

Now in the care of Robert Hickmott, Pondus embarked on a Victorian spring campaign last year, which culminated with a 17th placing in the Melbourne Cup, and Williams said he was now here to stay, most likely in races from 2000m to 2400m.

“We brought him here with the Spring Carnival in mind, it probably all came a bit quickly for him, but he had a good break and he’s doing everything right,” Williams said.

“I think he appreciates the shorter trips. I think 2000 to 2400m is his go.”

After resuming with an eighth placing, beaten 5-3/4 lengths, in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on March 5, Pondus relished the drop in class and rise in trip to score a 3-3/4-length Regal Power win over Secret Blaze ($21) with Michael Dee in the saddle.

Grandslam, who was heavily-backed to start $2.70 after $5 was still available post-scratchings on race morning, was half-a-length away third.

“The way he sprinted today I actually felt the same as last time, they just went very slow up front in the Blamey,” Dee said.

“I knew coming here today stepping up to the 2000m with a bit of race fitness, I was very confident.”

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