Although he was out-sprinted in the straight, Michael Plummer’s six-year-old gelding Royal Abbey did more than enough impress in his run to a strong fourth at Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.
The Orange-trained charge loomed at the top of the straight after pushing wide to find a lane and he hit the line well, but wasn’t able to match the sprint speed of the first three finishers after a pretty slow-paced run in the PGH Bricks & Pavers Benchmark 60 Handicap (2300 metres).
“It was a pretty slow run really, but that was it he did just get outsprinted,” Plummer said.
“He ran really well though and came home well in particular, so I’m pretty pleased with him.”
The gelding’s been in pretty consistent form of late, not finishing further back than sixth in any of his last nine runs, including a win at Dubbo in September and three other placings.
With that in mind Plummer says he’ll probably give the six-year-old a break soon, with an eye on some of the region’s biggest meets early next year.
“He has been running really well, he’s probably due for a bit of a rest so I think he’ll get one more run and then we’ll give him that,” the Orange trainer said.
“We’ll look to bring him back around the (Wellington) Boot Carnival and the Orange Cup, around that time.”
Royal Abbey ($15) settled at the back of the seven-strong field at Newcastle on Sunday, as the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Aurora Rose ($2.35 favourite) took up the lead from the jump.
In fact she led for all but the last 100 metres, in an impressive run to second.
Lady Montoya ($3.50), the eventual winner, settled in fourth on the rails before coming into the race at the final turn, looking likely to streak away.
Aurora Rose held firm, but wasn’t able to raise another effort as Jason Deamer’s mare kicked in the final stages, winning by a tick over two lengths.
Night Time Lover ($41) ran third after a a fast finish, with Royal Abbey another two lengths further back in fourth.