Hedged has claimed his first black-type win at Ipswich on Saturday, winning the Listed T L Cooney Stakes in commanding fashion under Vlad Duric.

The Mick Price and Michael Kent Junior-trained gelding has been a picture of consistency this campaign, narrowly denied Group 2 success in April’s Arrowfield Stakes, before kicking off his Queensland campaign with a luckless third in the Queensland Day Stakes a fortnight ago.

He was slightly easy in betting late for Saturday’s contest ($2.40 out to $3.20), perhaps due to the rise from 1200 metres to 1350m, but those concerns quickly proved unfounded.

Hedged bounced straight to the lead and never looked in danger, surging around the bend with a good buffer and holding a comfortable margin on the line.

Stable representative Mick Bell, trainer of G1-placed mudlark Jungle Edge, said there were no concrete plans to lead, but the goal was definitely to be more positive in running.

With the horse progressing nicely since his arrival in the Sunshine State, Bell is hopeful Hedged will be a different beast this spring.

“When Mick spoke to Vlad this morning, he told him to give him a dig early to get him going out of the gates. The plan wasn’t necessarily to lead, but that’s just how it worked out,” he said.

“This horse won a trial very nicely before he came up here, and he’s settled in very well since he arrived so it might be the making of him.

The trip away can do horses the world of good, it’s a bit like sending them off to camp. He’s a very nice horse and it worked out well today.

“He just got a bit too far back in the Queensland Day at Eagle Farm last time, he worked home nicely but today the plan was to be more positive.”

Bell, who started with the Price & Kent Jnr team just a couple of days before taking off for Queensland, is loving his new role, and will soon permanently close his Cranbourne stables.

“I started with them two days before I came up here, so it all happened very quickly but I’m really enjoying it and they’re good people to work for,” he said.

They are very good horsemen and they have very good horses … I’m winding down my stable, and I’ll take a permanent job with Mick and Mick. It’s working well so far.”


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