Crosshaven (Smart Missile) moved a step closer to being a factor in the Gr.1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) with his strong win in the Listed Exford Plate (1400m) at Flemington.
Co-trainer Tom Dabernig described Crosshaven as an exciting three-year-old and said the Caulfield Guineas was the logical next step after his comfortable win.
Crosshaven, who races in the colours of Auckland property developer Daniel Nakhle, appreciated a distance rise to 1400 metres on Saturday to post his third victory.
“In his races over 1200 he’s always been just off the bridle so the step up in trip was good and to see him win like that today was so exciting,” Dabernig said.
Crosshaven’s only defeat from four starts was when he finished sixth behind Immortal Love (Snitzel) at his previous run at Caulfield and Dabernig said the gelding would have gone close to winning but was checked in the closing stages.
His jockey Daniel Stackhouse agreed with Dabernig that the extra distance of the Exford Plate suited Crosshaven.
“He’s still a big, raw gelding so he’ll take great benefit from today, I think,” Stackhouse said.
“The plan was to take our time and get him into a really good rhythm. You can see that he’s still not stretching out a hundred per cent as he’s still learning what he’s doing.”
Crosshaven defeated Bartley (Written Tycoon) by 1-1/2 lengths with Cherry Tortoni (Night of Thunder) three-quarters of a length away third.
An $80,000 yearling graduate of Haunui Farm’s 2019 Karaka Book 1 draft, Crosshaven was initially passed in before selling to Lindsay Park with Nakhle retaining a share.
Nakhle had enjoyed previous success with the Lindsay Park team after selling a half share in Spanish Whisper, who won the Gr.2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) for the combination.
Crosshaven is the fifth winner from Daniel and Elias Nakhle’s Group Two winning mare Irish Colleen, who is also the dam of Group Three winner Killarney and seven-race winner Neeson.