Aquis considered Anders the best of his generation early on. As a three-year-old he is starting to live up to that expectation, and has raced himself into calculations for its slot in The Everest.
It is surprising that it took the Not A Single Doubt colt five runs to break his maiden, considering he is now unbeaten in the following four after a blistering show of speed in the San Domenico Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.
The plans to chase a group 1 in the Moir Stakes could be shelved for a shot at racing’s biggest prize.
“If you asked me yesterday I would have told you he is not in the mix for our slot [in The Everest],” Aquis boss Shane McGrath said.
“Now he is, and if we don’t take him someone else will.
“We always thought he was our best two-year-old, even in front of Farnan. It’s funny to say when we have the Golden Slipper winner.
“That is the horse [trainer] Ciaron [Maher] talked about and gee that was exciting.
“We have Farnan and Anders now, so it could be an exciting Everest day if we get both of them there.”
Anders, who won the Rosebud in similar style, enjoyed the firm ground and was only 0.16 seconds outside the 13-year-old 1100m track record of Westicaro. The only reason he didn’t break it was because jockey James McDonald was easy on him when the race was won.
McDonald took inspiration from his experiences with The Everest favourite Nature Strip on Anders, letting him find the front using his natural speed before extending the gap on a smart group of three-year-olds.
“The first furlong I went at my own speed but I let him increase around the two bends thinking that if I have them stretched a fair way from home [he'd be hard to beat],” McDonald said.
“They were all first-up and with the run under his belt, it would take a good horse to beat him - especially on quick ground.
“He would excel. I know he hasn’t excelled in the past but he has such a powerful action. He loves using himself.”
By the turn, Anders had opened a margin of four lengths. It was out to six lengths by the 200m pole and with the race in his keeping McDonald idled to the line.
Anders scored by 3-1/4 lengths from Peltzer in front of Mamaragan, who went back to last before working home for third another three-quarters of a length away.
“He pulled a muscle in his back on his way to the Magic Millions and hadn’t delivered on the track what we saw at home,” Maher said. “Now he is showing it and he might be even better than we thought.
“You can see the way he has developed and matured from a three-year-old into a three-year-old colt - it’s a very big difference.
“He has strengthened and lengthened and is just stronger. He is putting it all together, which is opening up options for us.
“The Moir [Stakes] was always the target for him because of his speed and the weight drop that the three-year-olds get, but you would have to consider The Everest after that.
“He was very impressive. I can’t wait to have a look at the sectionals.
“I was a little nervous when he was peeling off 10s but to hold that - there are not many that run those sectionals and be strong on the line. He was.”
While Anders was in a race of his own, Golden Rose contenders Peltzer and Mamaragan closed off the 1100m chase with his class.
Despite losing his unbeaten record, Peltzer got a big tick from trainer Gerald Ryan.
“That was always on the cards with a fast fit horse,” Ryan said. “Our bloke had a good blow and there wouldn't be a horse with as much improvement as he has in him going forward.
“We did a bit of work and there was nothing that could run past us, so he is on track for his target races later on in the spring.”
Mamaragan had to go back to last but his best work was late and he remains on target for next month’s Golden Rose.
“It was just nice the way he finished off,” trainer John Thompson said. “We had to go back and he found the line the way you like to see when you are looking forward to stepping up in trip.”