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By Graham Potter | Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Mark Du Plessis continues to prove his prowess on less fancied runners striking another ‘value’ blow for those who follow him when he piloted the Robert Heathcote trained Spaceship to a thrilling victory in a Three-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Maiden Plate over 1200m at Doomben on June 7.

Spaceship started at $21.

In fairness, Spaceship’s launch into a winning atmosphere would have been difficult to pick up on paper.

The lightly raced son of Invader’s previous two starts … on November and December last year … had produced real lack-lustre efforts and, while a trail a month ago before this first-up run was adequate, it too did not exactly set the track alight … hence the long odds.

But, as was well demonstrated here, six months in-between runs can do wonders for a lightly raced three-year-old’s development and maturity, as Spaceship not only stepped up his game in dramatic fashion, but he seemed to thrive on the challenge.

He was arguably helped by his number one barrier draw, but he had to respond early to make use of that advantage and he did that as Du Plessis pushed Spaceship into an immediate lead.

From there, it was a question of Du Plessis rating his mount well enough to have enough left at the finish and, in the first instance he had to do that with the $2.50 race favourite Cassimir trying to annoy him, just on Spaceship’s heels, to his outside.

In spite of Cassimir’s presence, Du Plessis just continued to let Spaceship run its own race and, although Cassimir loomed large as these two runners cornered together for the run home, after a brief two horse struggle, in which Spaceship always held the upper hand, the favourite eventually conceded defeat to the Heathcote trained runner at the 200m, leaving Spaceship free to gallop on to complete a well measured, end to end victory … the first of his career.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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