Group 1 winner Elite Street made a spectacular return from a bleeding attack to score a thrilling win in the Group 3 Northam Stakes (1100m) on Sunday.
Starting an easing $3.60 favourite, the Dan Morton-trained gelding sprinted powerfully from seventh on the turn to beat Red Can Man ($8) by a half-head.
Red Can Man burst to the front early in the straight, but jockey Chris Parnham hooked Elite Street into the clear at the 200m and lifted him to an exciting first-up victory. Laverrod ($21) was a distant third.
The winner of the 2020 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), Elite Street bled from both nostrils when running third as the popular favourite in the same race last November.
Morton said the $1.2 million earner had returned in top order after the setback.
“You’re always a little bit nervous, obviously he had a setback and you’ve got to nurse them through that and get them fit enough to still get out and compete in a good race,” Morton said.
“The team’s done a great job. He hasn’t missed a beat this whole prep.
“We were quietly excited about him but cautious knowing that he’s had issues along the way. Great to see him back.”
Morton spared a thought for top jockey Brad Rawiller, who missed the ride on Elite Street after testing positive to COVID-19 during the week.
“Commiserations to Brad,” Morton said. “He had done so much work on the horse and was so confident.”
Parnham has always had faith in Elite Street despite jumping off him in his Winterbottom win to ride Celebrity Queen who was a luckless second.
“I always thought he was a Group 1 horse,” Parnham said.
“Unfortunately I pulled the wrong rein in the Winterbottom and it hasn’t really been my ride since, but it was good to get back on him.”
A winner at nine of 18 starts, Elite Street will progress to the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m) at Belmont Park on May 14 before he is spelled and set for another tilt at the Winterbottom.
Morton has ruled out racing the five-year-old interstate again.
Amasenus, the brilliant winner of Saturday’s Sheila Gwynne Classic (1400m), will also be set for the Roma Cup.
“She’ll have to transition again and take on the big guns,” trainer Simon Miller told TABradio.
“She’s earned a crack at weight-for-age now.”
Apprentice Holly Watson will be out of action for a week under COVID-19 protocols.