Monday, 28 February 2011

Debutante Charge Forward gelding Universal Bolt kicked off his career in impressive style in winning the Betfair Handicap for 2 year olds at Morphettville Parks on Saturday.

Trained by in-form leading Adelaide trainer Mark Minervini, and piloted by young hoop Damien Robinson, Universal Bolt jumped relatively well and was able to comfortably muster good early speed, sitting second and third in the early stages behind favourite, Shoctonic ($2.50). As Shoctonic straightened for home, Robinson came off his heels and challenged the favourite strongly. After a solid tussle for most of the straight, Universal Bolt, an impressive type of 2 year old, forged away in the final 100 metres surging to the line to win by 1 1/4 lengths in the slick time of 58.94 seconds.

The Minervini stable was quietly confident that Universal Bolt would at least put in a forward showing following a solid trial effort 19 days prior to the race and performing well in a jump-out following the barrier trial. However, it is fair to suggest that at odds of $26 on track and $35 as best tote, he exceeded the expectations of all but a handful of punters. Given the authority with which Universal Bolt won this race, it will be a long time before he starts at anything resembling those odds.

The win was the first by a member of Charge Forward's current crop of 2 year olds. It was also the first by a 2 year old trained by Mark Minervini since his resumption from a short break a couple of years ago. And it was also the first win for a number of Universal Bolt's fortunate owners who are delving into the world of equine ownership for the first time and were provided with a wonderful thrill (and a massive fill-up).

Universal Bolt's win continues the great run of success enjoyed by strong Minervini stable supporter, Mark Schiavello, the manager of The Schmo Racing Syndicate. Addiction To Rock, another Schmo Racing Syndicate runner, ran a gallant third in Saturday's Nitschke Stakes after having no luck at any stage of the race.