Sessions Road wins first-up at Sandown

Having done most of his racing in Melbourne, co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said a trip to Sydney earlier in the year had been the making of Sessions Road.

A winner of four of his 10 starts prior to starting in the Ladbrokes Live Betting Handicap (1000m) at Sandown on Wednesday, Sessions Road charged home from last to claim stylish victory.

Ridden by Damien Thornton, Sessions Road ($14) scored by a length from the $2.30 favourite Zipping Boy with Elite Legacy ($9.50) a half-head away third.

Sessions Road had scored at Ballarat, Pakenham and Sandown before losing his way in a summer campaign before the decision was taken by Hawkes Racing to swing the gelding up to Sydney.

“That was the making of him. He went there, dropped the bit and went to sleep,” Wayne Hawkes said.

“(Hugh) Bowman rode him a couple of times and gave him a couple of peach runs and he’s come back a much more relaxed horse for it.”

Hawkes said there was plenty of merit in the victory after Sessions Road gave away a big start before Thornton came widest in the straight.

“He can jump and over-race, but he went back on purpose just to ride him quiet and let him hit the line,” Hawkes said.

“But to be fair, I think he loved the track and if he didn’t like the track you were going to be beaten a furlong-and-a-half as it’s pretty heavy out there.

“He swam on it, literally as the others were getting a little bogged down.”

Hawkes said the stable was likely to take advantage of the wet tracks with Sessions Road showing a liking for that type of ground.

However, he said the gelding would be given the opportunity to get over Wednesday’s taxing performance.

“This was the only suitable race around for three weeks,” Hawkes said.

“We thought we would use this as a bit of a barrier trial, so it was a good $50,000 barrier trial.”

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