The rapidly progressive Higher Ground reached a new peak with success in the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate over 2000m at Randwick.
In a photo finish, Higher Ground narrowly got his nose in front of stablemate and fellow Mulcaster Bloodstock selection Tangled to nab victory.
Racing in the Woppitt Bloodstock colours of Debbie Kepitis, Higher Ground showed he had ability as he worked through lower grades and, with the step up to 2000m for the first time, showed he is up to Group company in defeating a top field. Runner-up Tangled came into the race on the back of two Group 1 placings.
Saturday was Higher Ground’s first attempt at stakes company and trainer Chris Waller has plenty of options with the horse, along with runner-up Tangled.
“Higher Ground will go to the Queensland Derby and Tangled might go to the South Australian Derby,’’ Waller said.
“That’s the beauty of racing in Australia because 52 weeks of the year we race on pretty good tracks and there’s a lot of options.
“If you are not there in the spring there’s the autumn and other options, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia. You name it. It’s a pretty good country to be training racehorses.’’
Higher Ground is a son of So You Think and continues a stellar run of form this autumn for the sire, including Group 1 winner D’Argento, also trained by Waller.
“I like them,’’ Waller said when asked about training the progeny of So You Think. “They suit my style of training.
“So You Think was a deadset superstar and to get some of his progeny is pretty special.
“A big key to a horse’s longevity is not pushing them early and, as you can see, they start developing later in life.’’
Saturday’s victory took Higher Ground’s winning strike rate to 50% with four wins coming from eight starts along with two placings. He has earned $200,780 in prizemoney.
He was purchased by Woppitt Bloodstock from Newhaven Park for $210,000 at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. It continues a good run of form with purchases from Newhaven Park with leading two-year-old Performer also purchased from the esteemed nursery.