*Article by Mark Smith breednet
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained import Just Fine (IRE) took a stranglehold on the $750,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on September 30 with a dominant performance in Saturday’s Group III James Squire Kingston Town Stakes (2000m).
The Sea The Stars gelding set a marker at his Australia debut with a facile win over 1600m at Randwick on September 2.
That was his first run since winning by four and a half lengths over 10f at Leicester in October last year when trained by Sir Michael Stoute for The King.
It was no less dominant here. With Regan Bayliss in the saddle, Just Fine (IRE) stalked the early speed before hitting the front with 400m at run. He never flinched in a one-and-three-quarter length defeat of Benaud (Reliable Man) with Montefilia (Kermadec) a half-neck back in third.
“It was a great performance on debut here over the mile, he gave an indication we thought he’d do that going over a little bit further,” Adrian Bott said.
“But to do it up in this grade with the pressure and the shape of the race the way it worked out, and to win in that fashion; certainly some really encouraging signs.
“He’s made a huge statement in his two starts. He’s a very nice, progressive horse, so there’s a lot of upside there. The manner in which he won today off the pressure a long way from home and to quicken off that the way he did, he certainly looks to be well above average.
“He was nice and forward for his first-up run but natural improvement under the conditions here in Australia; he’s still open to a bit more.
“He’s come a long way very quickly, which is great to see and a great problem to have. We wanted to get today over first; it’s a step up in grade, hearing it’s a race record, which is understandable.”
Purchased for 300,000gns by Mckeever Bloodstock / Waterhouse Bott Racing at the 2022 Autumn Horses In Training Sale, Just Fine (IRE) is a half-brother to Group II placed hurdler, Perseus Way.
He is the best of four winners from five to race for Kingmambo mare Bint Almatar, a half-sister to multiple Group II winner and Group 1 Two Thousand Guineas runner-up Master Of The Seas and Group III UAE Oaks winner Falls Of Lora (Street Cry), dam of Godolphin’s triple Group 1 winner and $8million earner Cascadian (New Approach).
Just Fine (IRE) is the 114th black-type winner for Gilltown Stud’s champion Sea The Stars, who commands a fee of €180,000.