DRIFTING WEST signaled his arrival as a genuine top liner when he powered his way to an emphatic win in the $10,000 Gold Label 4YO Stakes over 2297 metres in Devonport on Sunday night.
With his trainer Christian Salter in the sulky the gelded son of Modern Art showed early brilliance from then mobile to cross from gate five to lead but he had one of last season’s top three-year-olds Quastor Centurion at his wheel for most of the journey.
However, when Salter called on his charge for the big effort in the back straight the last time he sprinted clear, leaving his rivals in his wake.
Drifting West went on to defeat Major Mac by 14 metres with Quastor Centurion fading to finish third a metre astern.
Drifting West is owned in partnership by Ken Hall and Ruth and Dennis Mahoney who bred the gelding from their top-producing mare Ark Drifter.
Hall said that he had tried to buy Drifting West but the Mahoneys were loathed to part with the gelding.
“In the end they (Mahoneys) they agreed to go halves, so I bought 50 per cent of him,” Hall said
“It’s been a good buy.”
“He won two races in his first season, another three last year and now he’s won this race at only his second start as a four-year-old,” he said.
One of the prime reasons Hall was keen to see Drifting West line up in the Gold Label was to test the horse on the tight Devonport circuit as it is the venue for the top 4YO race in the state, the Raider Stakes to be run at the end of April.
“Christian (Salter) wanted to give him a run her to get him ready for the Raider Stakes,” Hall said.
“We were a bit worried when we saw Quastor Centurion in the field but our horse is a good beginner and we thought he might be able to lead from barrier five,” he said.
That’s exactly how the race panned out but the most pleasing aspect of the win was the gelding’s times.
Drifting West set a class record, clocking a mile rate of 2:00.4 for the 2297 metres which easily eclipsed Rowan Direct’s best of for a four-year-old of 2:01.2 set ion the same race two years ago.