HUGE wraps followed Mornington Glory to Bendigo on Wednesday and the three-year-old certainly lived up to them.
The Matt Laurie-trained colt looked every inch a quality galloper in the making with an accomplished 3.8-length victory on debut over 1100m.
Debuting as a $1.55 chance, Mornington-based Laurie admitted to feeling some pressure to perform, but was glad to see his high opinion of the colt vindicated.
"The best winners are the long-priced ones because you don't expect them," he said.
"We've had a big opinion of this horse right from the beginning and it was nice to see him kick-off in good fashion.
"He's only going to get better when there's horses in front of him - something to settle off.
"But a couple of taps with the stick and he really put it together late. He'll improve a helluva lot from today."
Laurie will aim to make the immediate step-up to Group 2-level with Mornington Glory in the $300,000 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 2, with the longer-term target the $1.5 million Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on October 30.
The Shalaa/Crowned Glory colt impressed in an official trial on a heavy Cranbourne track on August 9, ahead of a convincing jump-out victory at Caulfield a week later.
He was able to validate that form with an impressive performance to kick-start a quality eight-race program, with Luke Currie in the saddle.
Similarly, the connections of Star Midfielder look to have plenty to look forward to after their young gelding broke through for his maiden win over the 1400m trip.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained three-year-old backed up from his third on debut at Echuca last month by claiming a tough victory with John Allen on board.
Star Midfielder was forced to do plenty of work before hitting the front at the 250m, but proved his resilience and class by staving off challenges from Poetic Drama and Shalaga to win by less than a length.
While the plan to go forward did not exactly eventuate, stable representative Leigh Allen said the gelding had stuck to his task well.
"He was overracing a little bit and couldn't slot into the one-one, but he's put in a good effort approaching the straight and finished off well," he said.
"There were a few others coming (at the end), he's done well to stick on.
"We think he can get a little further, so whether there's a mile in that?
"We'll bring him home, see how he gets through the run and pick out a race for him."
The win formed part of winning double for Allen, who added a second later in the day on the Archie Alexander-trained Bold Manner.
He shared the riding honours with rising star Jye McNeil, who notched up wins on Highland Jakk and Rigel Star.
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