Young Elite must earn his way into international races, says Fownes
If anything, Caspar Fownes was trying to hose down the enthusiasm for Young Elite after he made it six wins from 10 starts in the Beijing Handicap (1,600m) but that isn't easy when the gelding is owned by dozens of the Jockey Club's young members.
Racing under the banner of The Racing Club, the club's drive for young members, Young Elite (Brett Prebble) started at prohibitive odds and gave nobody any cause for concern in his first run for the new season, holding the fitter Street Cat in the run home to the cheers of his many owners.
After past wins, a future for Young Elite in the elite level has been tossed up, but Fownes wasn't talking about The Racing Club having a runner at the international races. Well, not yet at least.
'There's a way to go until that and the reality is that he has to earn the ratings points to put him into that sort of category. He's won off 101 today, he'll get probably seven or eight for that which would have only made him one of the bottom-rated horses in the main race today,' Fownes said.
'He probably needs another win to think about putting him in with the very top horses in the International Trials to see where we go from there but there's no rush, whatever happens.
'That was what I wanted to see today first-up - he's won well enough and he's going to come on a lot for it. I had been happy with his preparation but he was here with plenty of improvement in him with a view to where we are hoping to go with him,' he added.
Young Elite travelled smoothly just behind a decent speed before Prebble was able to take a short cut on the home turn that might well have been the difference as the big gelding tired nearing the line.
'He's a funny horse but he's very good,' said Prebble. 'Being able to cut back inside around the home turn helped him - I was able to get a cheap 100m when it was needed and get him back down to the rail in the straight and he definitely prefers that.
'He did get tired in the final stages and had plenty of improvement in his fitness but he has the habit of winning and that's always a good sign.'
Fownes now plans to bring the five-year-old back quickly and into the Sa Sa Ladies' Purse (1,800m) on Sunday week.
'It's probably a week earlier than I would have liked to run him again, but the Ladies' Purse looks the right direction to take him so we'll have to live with it coming so soon,' Fownes said. 'Young Elite is still a bit awkward on the outside of horses as we saw again today but that's just experience. The main thing is that he seems to have all the right gears.'
Like the other successful Racing Club horse, Young Label, Young Elite was sourced from Price Bloodstock of Silent Witness fame and gave that agency the first and last winners yesterday.