It was a thrilling finish to Saturday’s 1400m Class Two Highway Handicap at Rosehill Gardens, with five horses spread across the track on the finish line, while just two lengths separated the top eight.
Emerging victorious was the Ron Stubbs-trained Baledon (Tyler Shiller, $12), which burst through late to take the victory by 0.1 of a length from the Cassandra Stummer-trained Rebel’s Edge (Sam Clipperton, $6.50) in second, while in third was the Joseph Burges-trained Zaru (Dylan Gibbons, $7).
Baledon reached the 400m marker and turned for home on the Rosehill straight in 11th place and was some six or seven lengths off the early leader, Dream Game.
Schiller was patient though, and while his run closed on one occasion, he still got enough out of the talented five-year-old to win the race.
Stubbs admitted he was never confident down the home straight, but he sure was pleased to land the thrilling win.
“He always finds the line strongly, and two starts back, he flew home at Corowa, and he was unlucky not to win, but in hindsight, he was probably lucky not to win,” Stubbs laughed.
“He can find the line, but I thought, ‘here we go again; he is going to run a nice third or fourth again, and it was going to be a run we were rapt in’, but he kept coming and it was nice to win the race.”
Schiller has ridden some good winners for the stable since kicking off his apprenticeship in the Southern Districts, and Stubbs praised the ride.
“It was a good ride, and we have used Tyler quite a bit over the years, and he was apprentice down here, so we know him quite well,” Stubbs said.
“He actually rode Baledon at his first start in a race and ran second on him at the Albury Cup meeting two years ago now.”
The Albury trainer went to Rosehill Gardens as confident as he could be that Baledon was in for a good showing, especially after recent efforts at Corowa and Pakenham following a 26-week spell.
“It’s hard to be overly confident in these races but we thought he would run a strong race,” Stubbs said.
“It can be very difficult to get a form line on these Highways with horses coming from all different directions, and his last start was at Pakenham, and I don’t think there would have been a lot of Pakenham form in these races before.”
Baledon looks a progressive type, with the Fowedge gelding having now won three races in 13 starts and Stubbs said another run in town was on the cards ahead of a potential tilt at the 2023 Country Championships, with the Albury galloper set to contest the $150,000 Southern Districts qualifier on his home track on February 25.
“We had him earmarked as a (Country Championships) wildcard runner for us last season, but unfortunately, he bled at Canberra, and that put a stop to those plans,” Stubbs said.
“Next fortnight, there is a Class Three 1400m Highway at Rosehill and he will go there, and then we’ll put him out and freshen him up and give him a go at the local heat.
“His benchmark now will guarantee him a start, and 1400m is his best distance, and with the heat being on his home track, it is a big bonus.”