Saltpeter heightened excitement for connections when he stepped out at Caulfield on Saturday in the “Vale Graham Salisbury Handicap”, scoring his first metropolitan victory, and second-career-win, at only his third start.
Continuing their winning streak, the two-year-old was steered from a wide barrier by champion jockey, Damien Oliver, to settle outside the leader. After doing work at the start, the gelding showed great determination to fight out the 1100m handicap for the juveniles, taking out the race by a long head from the Leon and Troy Corstens trained, Clean Machine.
It was a push from Oliver that saw the decision to drop the Pierro gelding back in distance from his last start win over 1250m at Geelong, to run in Saturday’s race. An increased sharpness in the gelding’s demeanour since Geelong, heightened trainer John Moloney’s confidence, and proved a successful combination with match fitness and a versatile racehorse.
Describing the gelding as “foolproof” and a “little ripper”, Oliver believes that Saltpeter may be able to pick up a nice race during the Spring, and John is hopeful that with an imminent break, the gelding may continue to improve as a three-year-old and manage to snare some elusive Spring riches.
It was a special race to win on Saturday, commemorating a gentleman of the turf and a man loved by all who knew him. Moloney Racing sends our thoughts and prayers to Graham’s family and friends, as well as his dear mate, “Subbie”.