*By Paul Vetisse, TDN AusNZ

Smart colt Excellent Proposal (Exceed And Excel) continued his development at Randwick on Saturday where he managed a rise in class with aplomb and also showed he had more than one string to his bow with a stylish come from behind victory.

A pre-race plan to make the running was dashed at barrier rise, but it didn’t matter and the chestnut finished powerfully under rider Brenton Avdulla to claim top honours in the Australian Turf Club Handicap and draw serious attention to his 3-year-old season.

“He’s a promising colt and is very raw. He got himself a bit worked up before the race and did a bit wrong,” said Michael Freedman, who trains with brother Richard. “But you can’t do much more than two for two and he’s got a good future.

“We discussed before the race that there didn’t look to be a lot of pace in the race and thought we might end up in front.

“Brenton’s a great rider though and when he didn’t begin as well as we would have liked he took a trail. I guess that’s good for his education and showed he can take a sit and finish off like he did.”

Excellent Proposal settled midfield and when Avdulla cut loose on him in the straight he lengthened stride quickly and finished at a rate of knots.

“Dealing with all trainers and owners they expect you to do one thing and when the gates open it’s completely different,” Avdulla said.

“Michael said to me maybe take the lead and control the race, but he took a backward step and put me worse than midfield.

“I had to sum the situation and ended up getting a nice trail three wide with cover off a soft speed. I was able to ride my race and I knew one thing, when I got stuck into him he’d keep responding which he’s done in every trial.

“To his credit he knuckled down late it was quite soft the last couple of strides. I’m sure when he goes further he’ll get better too.”

The first winner in Australia for Victorian breeders Holloway Equine P/L, Excellent Proposal was purchased out of Fernrigg Farm’s draft at last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale for $200,000 and is out of Procrastination (GB) (Pivotal {GB}).

The dam won twice in France and placed at Listed level and she is a daughter of Dilly Dally (Rubiton), who was twice successful at Group 2 level in the TJ Smith Stakes and the Champagne Stakes and was placed in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes.

It’s notably the family of the multiple Group 1 winner Redzel (Snitzel), winner of both editions of the Everest and Australia’s champion sprinter of 2017-18.

Freedman said they would take a few days before deciding on their next move with Excellent Proposal.

“We’ll see how he pulls up and we might give him a bit of a let-up and give him a crack at some better races in the spring.

“As I said, he’s still a bit raw and still maturing. He might be one better placed in the autumn, we’ll just wait and see.”

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