One horse stamped his New Zealand 2000 Guineas credentials while another left some questions unanswered in the Mills Reef Winery & Restaurant 3YO at Rotorua today.
Billy Mojo (Mastercraftsman) earned a possible tilt at next month’s Riccarton classic with a short-head win over Del Rios, but 2000 Guineas second favourite The Justice League let down his army of supporters with a well beaten third.
Sent out the $1.70 favourite in the seven-horse field, The Justice League didn’t help his chances when he stag-leapt out of the gates and after settling midfield, began to over-race when the pace slackened.
That meant the long-strider was flushed out three wide, but he was in contention when the field swung for home. Up front, however, Billy Mojo had maintained his position outside the leader and he dug deep at the business end to down Del Rios.
The Justice League, who had missed his intended 2000 Guineas lead-up last weekend after an injury setback, was one and three-quarter lengths further back. Trainer Nigel Tiley remained positive about his Riccarton prospects, stating he would be better for the run.
“That start he made wasn’t part of the plan and things didn’t work out for him after that,” he said. “He needed the hitout and we can take him home knowing he’s going to love the mile at Riccarton.
“We’ve still got plenty of time to get him ready for it.”
Billy Mojo, the winner of one of his three juvenile starts and second-up today, will now go to the Sarten Memorial on Monday week before heading to Christchurch.
“We’ll push on to the Sarten and hopefully that will set him for the 2000 Guineas,” said Marsh, who trains the Mastercraftsman colt for Go Racing.
Billy Mojo is still at $31 on the TAB’s fixed odds market for the 2000 Guineas, while The Justice League remains at $8 behind $5 favourite Scrutinize.