HALLOWED Ground has earned a reputation as a bit of a synthetic track specialist, but jockey Dean Holland is convinced the Kyneton sprinter has a future elsewhere too.
The George Osborne-trained three-year-old notched up his third win in four consecutive starts on the Ballarat Synthetic on Tuesday.
Those wins represent his entire portfolio of victories from eight career starts.
Holland, who became the third individual rider to gain a win on the gelded son of Hallowed Crown, was left convinced either a city midweek or Saturday victory was within his capabilities following a dominant 2.5-length all-the-way win.
"I don't think I should get paid for that one - it's not very often I say that - but George just said be positive and show your hand that you want to lead," the 33-year-old said post-race.
'I only had to give him one rub out of the gates and I was there. He has a really high cruising speed, and although we worked the whole way and raced at his top, he still quickened off that and wasn't stopping on the line.
"I know it's only synthetic racing, but he's probably up to the Wednesday/Saturday class over the summer time.
"He's no superstar, but if he's placed right like George has been doing, he could certainly go through his grades in better races."
The win followed a near-miss on the Ballarat Synthetic on June 24, when Hallowed Ground again attempted to lead all the way, but was nabbed right on the line by another track specialist, the Jamie Scott-trained Sold Tha Car.
Further underpinning the gelding's improvement, Tuesday's 1200-metre win came in a benchmark 70, only three starts after he broke his maiden on May 16.
Osborne confessed to not being 'overly-confident' pre-race, but had little cause for concern as the in-form sprinter knuckled down to his task.
"To my eyes, still the last 50-metres he was all out, and I think under higher level racing, 1100-metre racing or even 1000 is spot on for him," he said.
"He's found a loving for the synthetic, thank goodness, as we couldn't find a dry track for him.
"We thought a Hallowed Crown would just love the wet, but he's just failed in it a couple of times.
Fortunately, we've come here and he's loved it and he's done a great job."
Osborne praised a 'perfect' ride from Holland, with whom he has forged a handy association over the years.
"Dean rode the horse beautifully, he put it to the sword at about the 600; I think good sprinters have got to put races to bed if they are leaders between the 600 and the 300 (metres) and hold on," he said.
"(Hallowed Ground) will definitely see town, but I think it will probably be in his next preparation in summer.
"Dry tracks are his go - his performances on dry tracks are fantastic. Anything from a (soft) 6 to worse he's no good, his legs just sink in it and he spins.
'He's done a super job and has been up forever, so I think he's earned a break and we'll bring him back for some summer racing."
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