9th Jul 2020
Price Bloodstock’s lightly-raced Xponential continued the learning process at Happy Valley on Wednesday night with his second win from his first campaign and it wasn’t only the four-year-old gelding who was being educated.
Douglas Whyte-trained Xponential looked a horse of some promise when he won his Sha Tin debut in mid-season but had not been able to get things right since, thanks to some difficult draws, some messy races and his inexperience.
But he relished the fast pace in his first appearance at Happy Valley and charged home to win under French rider Antoine Hamelin.
“He’s taught me a lot,” Whyte said. “First-up, he won unexpectedly, the pace was on, he was at the back sleeping and didn’t know what he was doing and then hit the line well. It was more like a barrier trial for him. After that there was a lot more pressure on him, a lot more expectations on him to deliver and we started to ride a race on him, put more pressure on him, he just wasn’t ready for it. I’ve given him time, I’ve taken the blinkers off tonight, I’ve changed tracks with him and brought him back to 1,200m.”
While that makes two wins at 1200m and the gelding disappointed at his two 1400m attempts, Whyte believes that longer distances are where everyone will see the best of Xponential next season.
“He’s developed into a nice horse, I think 1,200m is way short of his distance but he enjoys the speed of a 1,200m at the moment and hence the reason I brought him to Happy Valley,” Whyte said.