WITH a heavy weight of expectation on her back Sky Wave produced a flawless run to win the $10,000 top prize for trainer Victor Sultana in Monday’s Bathurst RSL Solders Saddle in record time.
Sky Wave ($2.60 favourite) ran a race record of 29.63 seconds over the 520 metres at Kennerson Park to make it seven straight wins to start her career.
Little Digger ($6.80, two lengths) put in a determined inside run to finish second while Ask King Jeff ($12.30, 4.75 lengths) had the run of the race to pinch third place from Give Us Peace in the dying stages.
Sky Wave’s unblemished record always meant she was going to be the one to watch in Monday’s annual feature but it was by far the classiest field she had come up against in her short career.
Running out of box seven, with fellow semi-final winners Give Us Peace and Little Digger on either side of her, meant the start was more important than ever for Sultana’s rising star.
As expected Give Us Peace got out strongly from box six but Sky Wave matched her for pace in the opening stages.
By the time the field had gone by the winning post for the first time Sky Wave had taken control of the race.
Widest starter Little Digger came across to the rail to form a two-dog battle group with Give Us Peace along the back straight.
Pride Of Charlie ($3.70), the next best-backed runner in the race after Sky Wave, didn’t get the start he wanted out of box three and was struck out of winning contention before the halfway point.
Sky Wave continued to lead the charge heading into the turn for home and never looked like being caught over the closing 100m.
Her winning time smashed the previous race record of 29.86 set by Jack’s Joker in 2014.
“She made it a little bit easier for herself today by jumping in front. That was good to see,” Sultana said.
“The more she’s raced the more she just keeps on improving.
“You can never be too confident though. Anything can happen in the race.
“It was a good field and she probably had the right box. She was a good chance if she did everything right and that’s what she did today.”
Handler for runner-up Little Digger, Maree Smith, said it was a great feeling taking second spot behind the unbeaten star.
“We’re very pleased to come second. It’s not the best box for him and he doesn’t come out quick so we were happy to see him follow the seven across,” she said.
“He’ll be taken through the grades and hopefully there will be some big races for him early next year.”
Little Digger’s trainer Raymond Smith came up just shy of going back-to-back in the saddle after Midnight Treat’s upset 2016 win.