Holler, a lightly raced son of Commands, had plenty to find on ratings. Photo: Anthony JohnsonJohn O’Shea-trained Holler put down a marker as a contender for the top autumn sprints, with an impressive victory over established stars in the group 2 Jeep Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley.
Partnered by leading Melbourne rider Craig Williams, who was bringing up a double in the Godolphin blue, Holler sat second behind Sirbible on Saturday before going clear heading towards the straight.
Williams had enough in hand for the well-supported $4.60 shot to score by a length from outsider Churchill Dancer ($21), which showed much-improved form to run second, with proven group 1 performers Rebel Dane ($3.70) and Huckelbuck ($9) third and fourth.
Holler, a lightly raced son of Commands, had plenty to find on ratings, but young horses such as him can improve quickly.
He had shown his liking for the course and distance when he beat his age group in the group 3 Red Anchor Stakes on Cox Plate Day, and Williams does not believe the colt will be out of place in the short-course races such as the Lightning Stakes or Oakleigh Plate, which will be run over the next month.
“I was impressed with his performance first up under the conditions of the race. I remembered when James [McDonald] won on him here, he was solid and forceful and John said to trust the horse, he’s a good galloper. For a three-year-old to beat the older horses at weight for age says he is in for a nice preparation. He moves very well and gives himself every opportunity when he finds a forward position.”
Melbourne stable manager David Charles said Holler had been in the Victorian capital for a couple of weeks and O’Shea had targeted the Australia Stakes for him as a perfect kick-off to the summer and autumn.
“We brought him here Tuesday and had a gallop. He’s a nice horse. He was impressive and we are pretty happy. John will be rapt.
“He looks as though he is in for an exciting time ahead. He was very impressive on Cox Plate Day when he won the Red Anchor.”
Williams is not that closely associated with Godolphin, but said that he had “a pretty good strike rate when I do ride for them”.
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