IT was narrow and very hard work but Good Project broke through for a win at Randwick that trainer Chris Waller says could be the making of him.
At the same time as he lamented not noticing a Group 1 race in New Zealand that would have suited the three-year-old, Waller was keen to set his sights on Group races in the late autumn and winter.
“I actually kicked myself when I saw the Levin Classic, a Group 1 mile race, in New Zealand,’’ Waller said.
“There’s no use crying after the fact but a race like that, which is a bit left field, would have suited because he has a good win in him.’’
The three-year-old had been a perennial placegetter with five minors on the trot before the 1600m event which would be just his second win in 12 starts.
Good Project ($2.10 fav) settled back off a solid tempo and jockey Hugh Bowman called on all his vigour to guide him home under the 59.5kg.
Invinzabeel ($7.50) made the favourite work for the win, running him to a long head, while I Am Impressed ($3.30) was a couple of lengths back after having every chance.
Waller said the win should prove a watershed for the colt and is likely to take aim at the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m) during the Brisbane carnival.
“He’s given us a few frustrating moments because he hasn’t won when he was entitled to,’’ Waller said.
“It was just good to see him get the job done, they’ve run quick time and he’s carried a bit of weight, and it is a well deserved win.
“The better horses get away with a win and you put them out in the paddock and get them ready for carnivals.
“With him I’ve kept him around to get that win, therefore it has wiped out the carnival.’’
Waller said it was his intention to have Good Project settle closer to the speed but praised Bowman’s judgment in allowing him to find his feet behind the strong tempo.
Randwick played very fast again on Saturday — the track was upgraded to a Firm 2 after the race — and Good Project stopped the clock 0.65 seconds outside Ike’s Dream’s 1600m record.
“The intention was to get a little closer but Hugh summed it up pretty quickly,’’ Waller said.
“If you look back through his form He should have won a few more, he’s still a colt and is a lovely type and we’ll try and get the best out of him.’’