CHRISTIAN Reith had to adopt Plan B on Sky Boy at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday but the Anthony and Edward Cummings-trained galloper kept his Villiers campaign alive with a gritty win.
Plan A was to take a sit but Reith said a combination of Red Knot starting sluggishly and his horse beginning strongly forced his hand, so he took the $1.90 favourite to the front.
Reith managed reasonably cheap sectionals for most of the trip and then sprinted three lengths clear in the straight before surviving a late charge by Nicochet.
Anthony Cummings was full of praise for the Pendragon four-year-old, who got home mainly on class.
"He did it the hard way today,'' Cummings said. "He's a pretty nice horse.
"We wanted to take cover but it was good to get him out in a nice rhythm and the horse was good enough to do the rest. The horse we thought would lead didn't and we ended up being there and he got challenged a couple of times in the run, so to holdon put a fair bit of merit in that run.
"He handled things well and was strong at the finish despite the weight, which he was really made to carry."
Cummings said he was briefly worried at the 200m that Sky Boy may have been caught but was happy to see him respond when asked for an extra effort by Reith.
Punters will see him again at Rosehill before he heads to the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick next month.
"We'll go to 1800m here in a couple of weeks in a higher benchmark race so he'll drop a bit of weight. If he does well, then he'll go to the Villiers," Cummings said.
"Coming back to the mile with the extra speed in the race, I think he'll settle and get a nice run.
"I think once he matures he'll get further than 2000m. His mum (Zazabelle) was third in a Melbourne Cup."
Reith said Sky Boy went better than he looked and that he didn't fall in to win as it appeared to the crowd on course.
"He responds well but is better with horses around him," Reith said.
"It makes him focus more. When he's out there by himself he just bludges a bit. He was a little more dour today but the weight did that and he was a bit lost out in front by himself. I began too well not to take that advantage.
"Red Knot didn't begin as well as we thought it would and I wasn't going to wait around to see what they were going to do."
Runner-up Nicochet looks certain to break through soon after registering his second runner-up finish inside 12 days.
The Jason Coyle-trained gelding set out after the leader at the 300m but couldn't catch Sky Boy.
"I thought at the furlong mark that the weight turnaround might be enough, but obviously the winner is going really well at the moment,'' Coyle said. "Hopefully, we can bounce off that and win something, sometime.
"Today was a real tester to see if he could settle over the 10 furlongs.
"They rolled at a nice tempo, the leader was able to kick in. Get him out of the picture and it only adds merit to our horse'srun."
Christian Reith gets that winning feeling on Sky Boy and (inset) Anthony Cummings. Pictures: Simon Bullard
MARE EASY TO LIKE BUT NOT EASY TO READ
TEAM Hawkes-trained Dyslexic defied a betting drift and put a spell of bad luck behind her to score on Saturday.
The daughter of Easy To Read pulled out plenty to hold off Godolphin pair Coruscate and Gaulois at Rosehill Gardens, to post her third win in eight starts.
"She's a good mare,'' Michael Hawkes said. "Unfortunately, she got balloted out of a stakes race on Melbourne Cup day so we elected to stay here in Sydney for this. With these mares, you are trying to get their rating up but last preparation sheshould have probably been a stakes winner already.
"She's had her share of bad luck; be it wet tracks or bad rides but it was a good, tough win today.''
Dyslexic's victory gave Andrew Adkins a winning double having partnered Royal Celebration.
"There was never going to be a lot of speed in the race and she flew the machines and Andrew put her in the good spot,'' Hawkes said. "He held her together strong and it was a very good win in the end.''
The aforementioned Coruscate and Gaulois performed admirably, particularly the latter who was first-up since ending his last campaign on a high note winning at Royal Randwick.