Gift Is Gift shows great heart carrying top weight
Unbeaten young sprinter Gift Is Gift had his mettle properly tested under the top weight but came through the assignment with his record and reputation intact after the Gallop Handicap (1,200m).
The son of rising star stallion Thorn Park, who had a double on the card after Delish won early on, had scrambled in for wins at his first two runs, then came away to beat Adoration impressively last time, but he was back to winning just a touch ugly yesterday by ?length over The Wand.
'It was a different scenario for him today' said Zac Purton, who had ridden the Almond Lee-trained three-year-old at his previous appearance. 'Last time, he had 118 pounds on board and he had everything fall the right way in the race and won comfortably. But up to 133 pounds in the saddle, with the lighter-weighted horses making him do a bit it was a better test of where he might be going. I think he showed he has a touch of class.'
Gift Is Gift was made to carry every ounce of the weight, staying in touch with the lead in the early stages when Hinyuen Paladin, Vintage Hussler and Win A Dozen were squabbling ferociously over the front and running the field along.
'Gift Is Gift jumped well but I had to get him to come back and drop his head but he did that and I was always quite confident from about the 700m,' said Purton, who took himself to 52 wins for the term. 'When I let him down, he sprinted well then I could feel the weight just anchoring him over the final stages and he had to show a bit of heart to keep going.
'It was only a half-length margin but. after burning a bit of gas early, I reckon he did everything you could ask.'
Gift Is Gift was one of the horses nominated for the Champion Griffin awards, to be presented next Sunday week, but even with yesterday's victory off a 74 rating and four wins from as many starts, he looks behind the eight ball for it even if the handicapper looked fondly on his latest victory.
The Tony Cruz-trained California Choice failed to keep his unbeaten run going after four, but he looks assured of the title anyway after his performances this season took his rating from 52 to 101.