History repeated itself for Wexford Stables when Sound Proposition came off the ballot to win the group one Manco Easter Stakes at Ellerslie yesterday.
The win came 31 years after Eastern Joy, trained by Dave and Paul O'Sullivan and ridden by Lance O'Sullivan, also got a late call-up into the Easter field and came up trumps.
"Eastern Joy got in at 7.20am on race morning - Dad [Dave] reminded me off that this morning," said Lance O'Sullivan, who trains Sound Proposition in partnership with Andrew Scott.
"It was a great win and I'm thrilled for all the staff at home. Andrew and all the team have done a great job with this horse and Darren Weatherley rides him in work every morning.
"We were going into it today thinking he's well out of it in the handicaps, but Mickey [rider Michael Coleman] was a bit bullish about his chances. He said he likes Ellerslie and it's good to have Mickey back on again today."
Sound Proposition lost a group one placing, his third in last year's New Zealand Derby behind Mongolian Khan and Volkstok'n'barrell, when disqualified for having elevated levels of cobalt in his system.
O'Sullivan and Scott were subsequently charged with presenting three horses to race with a prohibited substance, however the Racing Integrity Unit found they did not purposely administer cobalt in what was a highly publicised and protracted case.
"It's a very satisfying win," said O'Sullivan. "It has been a tough 12 months but we've all come through it and out the other side and as far as Wexford Stables goes it's onwards and upwards."
Sound Proposition has started just five times since his Derby performance and he showed he was back on the right track when winning a Rating 85 1600 at Ellerslie earlier this month.
"He came into the race through the back way - he wasn't in any of the big races coming in," said O'Sullivan. "He had to earn his spot in the race."
Settled back by Coleman, Sound Proposition unleashed his winning run wide out and nabbed outsider Trojan Warrior in the last stride to score by a head.
It was the fifth win in the Easter for Wexford Stables following on from Shivaree (1981), Our Shah (1982), Eastern Joy (1985) and Calveen (2005).
Trojan Warrior produced a huge effort for second as he was unsuited by the set weights and penalties conditions of the Easter.
Rasa Lila charged home late for third, a short neck from the runner-up, while Sakhee's Soldier was right in line in fourth position, just under a length clear of Mabeel.
- NZ Racing Desk.