Reset Beats Elders in Futurity Stakes

Fresh from his triumph against his own age in the Australian Guineas (Aust-I) earlier last month, Reset attempted new horizons in taking on older horses in the 106th Futurity Stakes (Aust-I) Feb. 28.

Only four of his elders contested the $400,000 weight-for-age feature at Caulfield, but were a tough and diverse group. When the five broke from the 1,400 meters, Reset was a 9-4 equal favorite with Vocabulary, the 4 year-old filly who had run Lonhro to a half head in the Orr (Aust-I) over the same ground. Sydney colt Thorn Park was a 5-2 chance, last year's Futurity first and third, Yell (by Anabaa) and Roman Arch at 13-2 and 30-1 respectively.

Dan Nikolic soon had the lone 3-year-old entrant on top from Yell and controlled the race from the front. Yell retreated beyond midstretch and Reset responded superbly to easily stifle the challenge of Vocabulary and win by a length. Thorn Park's lack of tactical speed was again his downfall in a sit-sprint affair and the Spinning World 4-year-old failed by a head to catch Yell for third, 1 1/4 lengths behind the Encosto de Lago distaffer. The 1:23.79 time was almost two seconds beyond the race record on a firm surface.

The Zabeel son's unbeaten record of five wins has netted his owners, Lloyd and Sue Williams, $850,000 -- more than four times his $190,000 yearling price at the 2002 Australian Easter sale. The first foal of dual group I winner assertive Lass was bred by Phillip Esplin and Graeme Hodgkinson. He sold in Sydney through Twin Palms, the breeding operation run by the late Stan Johnston in partnership with Esplin. Johnston died Feb 22.

Australia's newest star is the fourth of his age to defeat older horses in group I events this season. The others are Exceed and Excel (by Danehill), Casual Pass (Casual Lies), and Regimental Gal (General Nediym).

The fifth straight 3-year-old Futurity winner had that path chosen in part to avoid a confrontation with Lonhro in the Australian Cup on March 8. His long-term aim is the W.S. Cox Plate (Aust-I) in October.

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