Not An Option relished the Good 4 surface presented at Flemington on Saturday, with a strong win in the Brian Beattie Handicap (1420m).
It was the sixth career victory for the Mike Moroney-trained gelding who sports the colours of Brendan and Jo Lindsay of Cambridge Stud, who race the five-year-old along with a host of prominent trans-Tasman owners.
Given a peach of a ride by Patrick Moloney, Not An Option stalked the speed set by the Ben and JD Hayes-trained stablemates Monarch Of Egypt and Crosshaven before presenting at the right time deep in the straight to score by just over a length.
Not An Option had previously finished 11th in the Gr.1 Goodwood Handicap (1200m) in early May.
“It was just the change of track conditions and a lovely draw,” Moroney said. “We drew well in the Goodwood but he couldn’t handle the ground, it was too wet for him.
“He is up to winning a nice race but hasn’t had a lot of luck at the right time. We have had a crack at some big ones but things haven’t gone his way.
“He won with a bit in hand today and he is certainly a very nice horse.
“He has been up for a little while, I will have a talk with Henry (Plumptre, Cambridge Stud CEO) and Brendan and see where we head. Whether we head to the Winter Championship final or give him a break now.”
The Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) is back at Flemington on July 1.
Winning jockey Patrick Moloney said he had always had a good opinion of Not An Option.
“At one point I thought we were in a spot of bother. We were following the horse to beat in the race and he travelled really well,” Moloney said.
“When the Hayes horses paired off and they were having a duel down the straight I was caught up behind them, but he was able to switch across heels and let down really well.
“He is just a horse that is so much better on top of the ground. He has been racing on Soft 6s and Soft 7s and he travels up really well on the bridle but just lacks the acceleration on it.
“I do think he is blessed with a lot of ability, but he is just better on these firm decks and thankfully today we got another beautifully prepared track at Flemington.”
A son of Not A Single Doubt, Not An Option commenced his career for trainer Tony Pike in New Zealand, for whom he was a Group Two winning juvenile.
Pike went to $240,000 to purchase Not An Option from the draft of Curraghmore at the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales.
Not An Option is out of Chintz, whom Pike trained to six wins including the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m), backed up by placings in the Gr.1 Easter Handicap (1600m) and Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m).