It’s the time of year when three-year-olds are often being put away with next season in mind but Dr Listening might be an exception at the John Size yard after breaking through for his maiden win at his second start despite not really knowing a lot about the game.
Size landed a double to increase his lead in a championship race that has been over for months, with Matthew Chadwick steering home dirt specialist Grand Plus after Zac Purton had a few tricky moments before inexperienced Dr Listening justified his odds-on favouritism.
“He wasn’t as slow away as his debut but he was really reluctant to hold his position through the first half of the race,” Purton said. “When we came into the straight, there was a tight run on the inside and I just knew he wouldn’t take it and there was more room outside Multimax, but I could feel that not might be ideal either. So I just steered him right to the outside to give him more room.
“Even then, it took him a while to go through his gears, but he finished it off well when he did. It was only a half-length at the finish but I always felt he’d win and with more ground and maturity he could be a nice prospect next season.”
Size said he would wait to see how Dr Listening came out of the race but might run him again before the season’s end.
“A small winning margin today means he’ll stay in Class Four, he could do with more experience and the wet didn’t worry him today, so if he struck soft ground again in the next few weeks – which is always a possibility – he probably has no aversion to that,” he said.
Grand Plus backed up a sound 1,200m run on the all-weather last week to win with some authority over 1,650m and Chadwick said the extra ground is important to the gelding in Class Three.
“He gets away with it in Class Four over 1,200m but, in this grade, they’re just that bit quicker at the sprint trip on the dirt and he needs the different tempo at 1,650m,” he said. “He has the pace to travel comfortably at that tempo in Class Three at a mile and it meant he was able to use the draw well.
“Around the home turn, I had plenty of horse and the only way he was going to be beaten was by getting into trouble, so I just made sure to get him into clear room and take no risks.”