Publicist salutes at Warwick Farm

Punters breathe a sigh of relief as hot favourite Publicist manages to hold on and score in the opening event at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.

Second-up from a spell and looking to break through in his fourth career start, the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Publicist was sent out $1.60 in the opening race at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.

Run over 1400m, the son of Written Tycoon jumped fairly from his wide alley (8) and was promptly urged along from jockey Tim Clark to work forward, cross and secure the lead in the early going.

Settling in front, Clark and his mount enjoyed it all their own way for the majority and gave a nice kick when rounding the home turn to pinch a break on his rivals.

It wasn’t until approaching the 100m the gelding began to feel pressure from his opponents. Quickly becoming a race in two between Publicist and Russian Ruble, the challengers dashed well clear of the rest of the field and tussled out a good fight to the finish.

In what included a few heart in mouth moments over the concluding stages for favourite backers, the three-year-old held on to salute by a neck on the line (0.22L), with a further four length gap to the runner in third.

While the win may not have been as convincing as what you’d expect from a red figure favourite, stable representative Neil Paine was pleased with the gelding’s efforts and thrilled the three-year-old could take his first tangible steps to repaying the elite ownership group.

“That’s really good to get a win for all of these (owners). There’s some big hitters in this (Newgate Bloodstock, China Horse Club Racing),” Paine said.

“He had improved that little bit (from first-up run) and he’s done well.

“Gai and Adrian have always thought this horse has a lot of ability, but it’s just taken time with him. Now that he’s had the win, we know he’s got an engine under the bonnet.

Equally as impressed with his mount’s performance, Clark is sure the gelding will take benefit from the win.

“I just felt that he was just waiting a little bit, so although physically he’s very developed, I think mentally he’s still working it out,” Clark said.

“The second horse continued to challenge him, but he always felt he had enough in reserve to hold it off.

“He’s still a bit young in the mind and has a little bit of improvement to come mentally.”

Clark and the Waterhouse & Bott team were able to replicate their first race heroics, securing an early race-to-race double with three-year-old filly Decisive Move, in what was another dominant front running performance.

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