Stardome winning at Eagle Farm on Saturday. Photo: Grant Peters
The Colin Little-trained Vassilator (NZ) (Zacinto) was back in the winner’s circle when landing the VRC Heritage Handicap (1400m) under a well-timed Craig Williams ride.
The chestnut son of Valachi Downs’ stallion Zacinto was successful for the third time in his career, but has been a great money spinner for his syndicate of owners, amassing A$617,275 from 22 starts to date.
A Listed winner at two, the now four-year-old prevailed narrowly from Godolphin’s Haunted (Lonhro), with former Kiwi Romancer (NZ) (Redwood) close-up in third.
All three of Vassilator’s wins have come at Flemington, a fact not lost on his Caulfield conditioner.
“Obviously, he likes this big flat track and likes to be able to steam home,” Little said.
“He’s been racing really well. I think wide barriers have cost him a bit. He hasn’t had a lot of luck. We just eased up on him a bit as he got a little older.
“We just seem to think that he needs less work and he’s happier on an easier preparation so we gave that a try last time and we were pretty happy with him.”
Little said a wide barrier had proved costly for Vassilator at his previous start and he praised the versatility of the gelding who scored on the Soft5 surface.
“He was just able to be a bit closer today,” Little said. “On top of the ground or a Heavy10, it doesn’t matter with him.”
Little will keep the handy galloper ticking over through the next few months and may look to step up to a mile or even further.
The victory was the 58th Melbourne metropolitan win of the season for leading rider Craig Williams who was delighted to ride a winner for Little and an ownership group which features Rod and Paige Fitzroy.
“He’s shown glimpses of amazing ability – all of his wins have been at this course and distance,” Williams said.
“But his best performance was when he ran second behind The Autumn Sun in the Caulfield Guineas (Gr.1, 1600m) as a three-year-old.
“He’s got the ability but it’s about getting it out of him. The other day he drew out wide and overraced badly for me but still raced extremely well. Colin presented him today, and he said that he’d changed his work around. He raced better for me, a lot kinder.
“There’ll be good races for him through the series with the Winter Championship over a mile. He did sprint really well fresh at the start of the prep so I think there are a lot of options with him.”
Vassilator was purchased by Little for $25,000 from the draft of Windsor Park Stud at the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale.
Out of the High Chaparral mare Highlights (NZ), Little went back to the source when buying Vassilator’s half-brother by Mongolian Khan at this year’s New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales for $160,000 from Windsor Park Stud’s Book 1 draft.
There are nine lots by Zacinto in the New Zealand Bloodstock South Island Yearling Sale which is being hosted online through Gavelhouse Plus and concludes on Sunday.