Successful Lonhro sire Demerit has jumped the blocks with a season-opening double for Taunton Vale owners Kent and Nina Johnston.
Fille De Merit powered home at Belmont on Wednesday and Double Digit registered his second win in a month at Northam on Thursday.
Both results went according to plan with both winners saluting as short-priced favourites. “The speed up front really helped,” trainer Brett Pope said after Fille De Merit reeled in tearaway leader Chancery to score by three-quarters of a length at Belmont. “Her manners have improved and I’m stoked with that performance. She really found the line.”
Fille De Merit is coming to the end of her first prep which has yielded 3 wins in 6 starts for Pope and the Johnstons. She is the final foal from Tribu mare Colorado Girl from a Taunton Vale family going back to G1 Karrakatta Plate winner Dynamic Beau (Dynamo).
Race-caller Darren McAullay complimented Demerit as Willie Pike returned to scale on his latest city winner. “He’s got a great winners-to-runners record for such a modestly-priced stallion. At $3,300, you can’t go wrong!”
Demerit sprinter Double Digit will also be heading to town after a last-to first victory in the Avon Valley on Thursday. Alan Kennedy angled the 4yo gelding to the outskirts in the straight and merely shook the reins in driving rain to score by more than two lengths.
Double Digit is prepared by Ashley Maley and thrives on a training routine that involves lots of beachwork at Lancelin. He’s the first foal of Female Agent (Commands) who won at Wyong and Ballarat before being sold off the track to WA. She has a new-season 2yo by Demerit named Agent Pippa and was bred back to him last year.
Demerit has been joined by King’s Troop at Taunton Vale this year. The Redoute’s Choice stakes sprinter is a three-quarter brother to newly-crowned Australian champion Snitzel and will stand for a $2,750 (inc gst) service fee.