Oscar's Mr Alejandro can get even better
Jockey John Powell maintains great winning strike rate on Saturday
One ride, one winner.
It doesn't get better than that.
Just ask John Powell. Considered a "heavyweight" as far as jockeys go, Powell now shares the highest strike rate of 22 per cent with current leader Vlad Duric.
His win on Oscar Racing Stable's Mr Alejandro - his only mount on Saturday - was his fourth winner for the season.
And he has only had 18 rides this year.
The Australian veteran, who does not command as many rides as some of his lighter colleagues, has nonetheless made the most of his limited opportunities in this early stage of the 2020 season. He has already scored on Effortless, Surge, Born To Win and, now, Mr Alejandro for trainer Lee Freedman in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden Division 1 race over the 1,400m.
Duric has six wins from 27 rides.
Mr Alejandro, who worked like a winner last Wednesday morning and was highlighted in The New Paper, went off as the top fancy and he certainly gave his supporters plenty to cheer about.
The three-year-old loomed as a good thing once Powell popped him off his rail-hugging run around the home turn to collar race-leader Mighty Vain (Benny Woodworth). But it was not quite the one-way traffic the $8 favourite tag would have suggested.
After opening up to a two-length break, Mr Alejandro did appear to get the staggers inside the last 100 metres.
That allowed God's Gift (Alysha Collett) to close in on him, but he had enough petrol left to open his account with 1 ½ lengths to spare.
Mighty Vain stayed on for third, a head away.
"He had a nice run. I didn't want to get there too early, I held him for as long as I could," said Powell. "But he got tired in the straight. He was not getting away as I would have liked, but he will keep improving."
Just like with his earlier winner on the day, Circuit Star, Freedman reckoned a step-up in distance will suit Mr Alejandro better.
"The break was beneficial. He's a staying horse and he's really come on during the break," said the Australian handler.
"There is more improvement to come from him. As he's got Zabeel on the dam side (Honeymoon's sire), he'll go up to the mile.
"There aren't many staying races here, but the 1,800m races would suit him."
Having already picked up around $49,000 in prize money from his two seconds and one third, Mr Alejandro has almost doubled that amount to about $90,000 with that first win at his fifth start for Oscar Racing.