Saturday, 30 September 2006
Unheralded stayer Exinite boosted trainer Kris Lees' stocks in next week's Metropolitan Handicap with a tradesman-like win in Saturday's Queen's Cup at Randwick.
The five-year-old will join stablemate and 2004 Metropolitan winner County Tyrone in the Group One feature after capping a rapid rise through the grades with Saturday's Group Three victory.
Exinite, who cracked a cannon bone earlier in his career and was sidelined for six months, was racing in class three company at the provincials just six weeks ago.
He showed a glimpse of what was to come with an eye-catching last-start second to Bikkie Tin Blues in the Newcastle Cup and proved that was no fluke with his victory over 2400 metres.
"He is an improving horse and he'll have no weight on his back next week," Lees said.
"We'll run him provided he comes through today's race okay. That was a good, tough win."
Exinite enjoyed a good run midfield for Larry Cassidy on Saturday with Chess Record and Mr Martini setting a solid tempo up front.
He staved off the late charge from promising Brian Smith-trained four-year-old Scattergun to win by a neck with topweight Activation doing his best work late another neck away third.
With County Tyrone's regular rider Jim Cassidy committed to partnering Our Smoking Joe in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington next Saturday, Larry Cassidy has picked up the Metropolitan mount on the Sydney Cup winner.
Jay Ford, who rode Exinite in the Newcastle Cup, will be reunited with the gelding who will carry 52kg.
Ford missed today's Randwick meeting to ride Takeover Target in Sunday's Group One Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama in Japan but will return home on Tuesday.
Exinite will face a rematch with both Queen's Cup minor place-getters in the Metropolitan and Graeme Rogerson, trainer of Activation, said he was taken with his charge's effort on Saturday.
"He gave them six kilos so I was pleased with that and nothing has changed in terms of our plans," Rogerson said.
Like Lees, Smith will have two Metropolitan starters in Scattergun and Bikkie Tin Blues.
Of the beaten brigade favourite Vanquished made up late ground for fifth while Dizelle was a luckless ninth after being squeezed out of a run when making good ground in the straight.
Queen's trophy to Exinite
Exinite took the Vitrinite Syndicate back to the winner's circle when he stayed best in the Group III Queen's Cup (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Vitrinite, by Lord Ballinafrom the Centaine mare Centrepiece cost his owners $170,000 as a yearling but he won more than $480,000 in seven wins, retiring in 2001.
When Vitrinite's brother came up at the 2003 Australian yearling sales in Sydney, the Vitrinite syndicate bought him for $55,000.
Now racing as the five-year-old gelding Exinite, he has been a little slow getting there but has peaked this season.
Saturday's win follows a battling second in the Group III NJC Newcastle Cup (2300m).
Trained at Newcastle by Kris Lees, Exinite won the Queens Cup by a head from the Quest fo Fame horse Scatterguin.
Top weight Activation, by Zabeel, was a neck away in third place.
The Australian 2-10-06
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