Escado has surprised even his trainer Matt Laurie with victory in the Group Three JRA Cup at Moonee Valley.
Escado ($41) led in Friday night’s 2040m race and held off the Caulfield Cup-bound Magnapal ($9) by a short head with 1-1/2 lengths to Velox ($8.50) third.
Laurie has had the Bendigo Cup and Queen Elizabeth Stakes as spring targets and says he will probably stick to his original plan, although thrilled to see the gelding pick up the Group Three win on the way.
However, the 2013 South Australian Derby winner does still hold a Melbourne Cup nomination.
“I’m a bit speechless to be honest,” Laurie said.
“I didn’t think he’d be winning tonight. He’s a horse you’re always second guessing yourself with.
“He carries a lot of weight so you’re never really quite sure where you’re at with him. I thought he’d run a good race but need the run going into another 2000 metre race.”