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By Graham Potter | Saturday, October 28, 2023

It was a significant win for The Face when the six-year-old Rubick gelding put a third win on his race record by taking out a Class 3 Plate over 1200m at Doomben on October 28, given that you have to go all the way back to January 2021 to find his last win prior to this latest success.

That win came at a time when The Face raced under the care of the Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou training partnership and the horse was flying at that time having won twice and finished second three times in his first six career starts … including runner-up finishes in both Listed and Group 3 contests.

But things did not kick on well from there.

In fourteen subsequent starts for the Ryan/Alexiou yard (from June 2021 to April 2023), The Face’s best finish was a second place at Kembla Grange. In fairness, during that time The face did race once in Group 2 company, twice at Group 3 level and twice at Listed level, and he was also sidelined twice over that period … once for four months and later for a full eleven months, which obviously placed an anchor on his progress.

And so it was that The face transferred to the David Vandyke stable at the Sunshine Coast and his new trainer took him straight to town where he contested a Class 3 Handicap over 1000m at Eagle Farm on October 14 where he couldn’t fully keep up with the speedsters Steady Ready and Liquor during most of the race before weakening late to finish at the back of a seven horse field.

Fair to say the jury was still out on The Face’s prospects moving forward, but David Vandyke’s record of generally improving tried horses that come into his care again came to the fore in The face’s second start for his new stable.

This time The Face ($6.50) jumped into an immediate lead under Ben Thompson. Thompson then measured his run up front as a wall of horses tracked The Face at close quarters while he took the field down the back straight and into the start of the sweep to the home turn.

As the field travelled towards the home turn another Vandyke trained runner, Mintaka Lad (also a $6.50 chance) moved into an outright second place … meaning that the Vandyke runners held sway turning for home.

The Face showed the benefit he had taken from his previous start as he remained resolute all of the way down the home straight, firstly keeping Mintaka Lad at bay.

Then, when his stable companion cried enough after having had to work from his wide draw in the first half of the race, The Face refused to allow the persistent challenge of the $31 outsider Amore Veloce, who was trying to thread the needle between The Face and the inside running rail, to get the better of him.

Had he showed any weakness Amore Veloce would have got past him, but, this time, there was no dent in his armoury and The Face duly held Amore Veloce to the line, along with a wall of late challengers who arrived with a late rush in a finish which ultimately saw only two lengths cover the first six runners across the line.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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