MARK'S Line showed he has the toughness and nous to develop into a good stayer when breaking his maiden over 1400m at Horsham on Sunday.
The Brian and Ashley McKnight-trained four-year-old followed up his handy second over 1624m at Donald in August before a nine-week let-up with a convincing first career win on Cup day.
Co-trainer Ashley McKnight and winning jockey Christine Puls are adamant there are better things to come for the gelded son of Nostradamus, whose strong finish after coming wide on the turn indicates he will be much better over further ground.
"It was a really good win I thought," McKnight said.
'I was a bit concerned, he flushed out four-wide around the turn, but I don't think anyone knows this track better than Christine (who is Horsham-based) and how to ride it.
"It was a great ride by her and it's making all the trips to Ballarat to gallop him and trial him all worth it."
McKnight said Mark's Line would step-up to 1600m at his next start, with longer-term distances of 2000m and beyond on the minds of his Maldon-based trainers.
"Christine identified this horse some time ago in a trial - she said this could be a nice little horse," he said.
"(City) mid-week somewhere. I can't wait to get to 2000m, he's going to be even better at 2000m."
The win delivered the McKnights their first win of the 2021-22 season (from 11 starters) and their first since the now eight-year-old Hot Seat saluted on the Ballarat Synthetic in July.
Hot Seat has since gone on to place second on three occasions in six starts, including at Horsham on Sunday.
Puls, who identified Mark's Line's ability early in the piece, continues to be impressed by the four-year-old, who was slow to begin before settling midfield and launching his move forward at about the 800m.
"I really like the horse. If I hadn't of got going at the half-mile, I would have just been left (behind) and then I would have been flashing late," she said.
"Sometimes you've just got to throw it all out the window and say bugger it, just do it and I hoped to pull it off and I did.
"He's very much a natural stayer - he wants to come out of the gates and go to sleep. It's really hard to be asking him to go, go, go.
"They've got a nice horse in the future at 2000m."
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