When the time comes, and decisions have to be made, sometimes the unkindest cut of all is often what works, and in the case of HAVANA, it has produced a new zest for racing for the quality Starcraft three-year-old.
Returning after a gelding operation, the Blue Sky Bloodstock purchase has had four starts this time in, recording a classy victory first up, followed by a pleasing second at Listed level two starts back before a dominate victory in the Group Three Fred Best Classic at Doomben on May 17.
Having now had two starts on Havana for a Group Three win and a Group Two placed effort behind eventual dual Group One winner Criterion, Luke Nolen settled the gelding in a comfortable position, not too far from the leaders after jumping away well from barrier two.
Really just having to sit on the Paul Messara-trained galloper, Nolen never had to go around another runner, as the impressive looking three-year-old followed the rails throughout.
As the field turned for home, Havana sprinted along the inside rail, to record his first stakes success, winning by a length from Into The Red, with last start Group Three Gold Coast Guineas winner Dothraki in third and the Group Three C.S. Hayes Stakes winner Hucklebuck in fourth.
Messara, who always felt Havana had promise, was relieved after the race.
“I’ve always thought he was a good horse. It’s just been a matter of waiting for the right day," Messara said.
“We went with the back-up and you never know until you test them and he’s come through brilliantly.
“We will go to the Guineas in two weeks, I think 1400m is perfect and I’m excited about it.”
Blue Sky Bloodstock’s Managing Director Julian Blaxland who purchased Havana as a yearling from the Magic Millions Yearling Sale, was also jubilant post-race.
"I'm delighted for the owners as Paul has had a huge opinion of Havana since he was an early 2yo but Saturday's win was the first time the horse has put it all together in group company.
“He was gelded in summer and it's certainly made a big difference to his mindset.
“We have a great group of QLD owners in the horse so it is wonderful to see him win during the Brisbane winter carnival."
The $350,000 Group Two Queensland Guineas, set to be run at Eagle Farm on May 31st is the next assignment for Havana, and with the $1.38 million Group One Stradbroke Handicap on June 7, a week after the Guineas still in the mix, nothing is set in concrete until after the Guineas run, but one thing after Saturday’s victory is clear; Havana is a horse on the up and clearly didn’t have any issues with backing up within a week.
Blue Sky Bloodstock would like to congratulate the successful owners of Havana; Arrowfield Pastoral Synd (Mgr: J Messara), Blue Sky Thoroughbreds Synd, Favretto Bloodstock Synd, P J & Mrs D D Bone, B Kennedy, T C Lloyd-Jones, S J Pont & Just Fun Racing Synd (Mgr: D Halpin).