Debutants Our Folks and Sky Man are heading in the right direction
It was quite clear from the way Our Folks had been worked and trialled leading into his local debut that Sunday was supposed to be the day but connections should not fret too much as the four-year-old is going to have his share of days in the future.
The Exceed And Excel gelding raced in New Zealand as Excellent Reward, building a handy profile in just a few starts, and there was everything in his first run here to say he will carry on with the work.
Sunday's race was virtually run to suit only one horse - the winner, Winfull Patrol, who controlled the speed in the middle stages to slow everything down, then zipped away in just under 22 seconds down the final 400m to win.
Considering his light handicap weight and all the favours he enjoyed, perhaps Winfull Patrol should have won more easily than the short-head margin that separated him from Our Folks on the line but that only highlights the effort of the runner-up.
Our Folks conceded 14 pounds to the winner, then had to run an even quicker final sectional than Winfull Patrol to get as close as he did.
In terms of fitness, Our Folks was pretty well nailed down for his first time out and that won't improve but that only means that his day in the sun should be close at hand in Class Three and he looks capable of carrying on winning into the next grade as well. Winning debutant Sky Man has quality stamped all over him and will come on for his outing on race day.
He progressed clearly in each of his barrier trials so the experience of an actual race should do wonders for the three-year-old, who has natural speed and a good attitude to match.
He was prepared with an eye to the details for this appearance but, when the more experienced Seasons Star put the flame to him in the final 150m, he could have been forgiven in defeat. The younger horse lifted by enough to win, though, they trounced the rest and Sky Man will have a better idea of his job when he steps out again.