Kiwi import Hezashocka was back in the winner’s circle when a surprise $61 winner at Flemington in a BenchMark 78 over 1600m.
After racing midfield in a sedately run affair, Hezashocka kicked well under Patrick Moloney and held off Lyrical Lad.
The Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr-trained four-year-old sports the colours of OTI Racing and was purchased privately after winning the Gr.2 Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie as a three-year-old.
The son of Shocking transferred from Shaun and Emma Clotworthy to the Cranbourne training duo of Price and Kent and Saturday’s victory was the first from his new quarters, with Kent Jnr admitting to the result being a surprise over a distance thought to be short of his best.
“He’s been going really well, his trials have been much sharper but we still thought he’d take a run today and watching the run it was a farcical tempo and I thought this won’t suit us and he came off the bridle quite early but he really found well and it was a very close photo, I didn’t think we’d got that one,” Kent Jnr said.
“We bought him off a Group Two win in New Zealand, he went straight to the Queensland Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) and it was a bit too soon for him.
“He came back last prep, he wasn’t mature yet. He’s a very rangy, raw, scopey horse. I think just with a bit more time and putting more bulk on. He’s still quite a fretty horse, he got quite sweaty out the back there.
“He’s got plenty of improvement to come still. He’s only going to keep getting better with time, he’ll go straight to 2000m next start.”
Winning jockey Patrick Moloney was also surprised with the dash displayed by the stayer.
“I didn’t expect him to sprint that quick, he just had the freshness and sharpness in his legs and I was a bit shocked I got there a bit too soon, I wanted to try and build into it but he sprinted a bit quicker than what I thought,” Moloney said.
“When I pressed the go button he ran straight up the backsides of them so I sort of had to bullock my way out and I think this horse has come back a much more rounded animal and he’s only going to improve as the distances go up.”
By Shocking out of the Brilliance mare Shezakiwi, Hezashocka was bought by Shaun Clotworthy for $18,000 at Karaka in 2019 from the draft of Grangewilliam Stud.
Emma Clotworthy and former commentator Keith Haub remain in the ownership of the progressive stayer.