Octane out to prove a point in Melbourne
Phillip Stokes knew he virtually needed to start over with Octane when the horse joined his stable as a winner of one of his first six starts.
So far, that tactic has been successful in Adelaide and on Saturday, Stokes will test it in Melbourne.
The five-year-old, who returns to Victoria for the first time in 17 months having won five of his past six starts in Adelaide, runs in the Farewell To Rod Gaylard (1000m) at Flemington.
Octane has the distinction of being the highest priced yearling sold in Victoria, fetching $1.4 million at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale in 2017.
He is by I Am Invincible out of Encosta De Lago mare Soorena, the dam of Newmarket Handicap winner The Quarterback and Group Two winner Vanilla, who raced in Australia as Philippi before he was sold to Hong Kong.
But in six starts for Ciaron Maher, the best Octane could do was win a maiden at Wangaratta.
One original owner, Ken McDonald, showed faith and bought out the other owners for a sum reported to be around $40,000.
Stokes said he decided to take Octane back to Adelaide to help him regain confidence.
“I took all the gear off him and basically started all over again with him. He’s been great with his attitude,” Stokes said.
Stokes kicked him off in the lowest grade he could find and Octane strung together three wins before he was spelled.
He gave away too big a start when he resumed for fourth at Morphettville before bouncing back to win his past two runs.
“It’s a defining race for him (at Flemington). We can find out whether he’s up to a better class of race,” Stokes said.
Stokes reported stable star Mr Quickie was coming along nicely and was scheduled to resume at Caulfield on August 29.