Blue-blooded Congregation wins on debut

He isn’t as precocious as his big sister, but Congregation has inherited his share of talent.

With a fancy pedigree and the price tag to match, there was plenty of interest in the debut of $2.25 million colt Congregation at Canterbury and despite running his race in patches, he left no doubt about his ability. 

A brother to 2018 Golden Slipper winner Estijaab and the stakes performed Remarque, Congregation continued Chris Waller's heady two-year-old season with a stylish victory in the TAB Handicap (1250m) on Wednesday. 

After settling midfield and appearing to come off the bridle before the home turn, Congregation ($7.50) regathered himself and lengthened nicely to chase down Dumebi ($4.80), himself a $650,000 yearling purchase, and edge clear to score. 

Kerrin Mcevoy said the son of Snitzel still had a lot to learn and did several things wrong in the run, but added the fact he still proved too good for his rivals was a positive sign for the future. 

"He was a little bit raw, during the race he rolled around the corner a few times," McEvoy said. 

"He picked up and concentrated for a hundred yards there and then had a look around when he got in front. 

"Lovely colt who's only going to keep going forward in the next six or nine months." 

Congregation has a high-profile group of owners led by Coolmore and the Kepitis family's Woppitt Bloodstock, which also race Slipper winner Shinzo with Waller. 

Stable representative Charlie Duckworth was unsure of immediate plans for Congregation but said he did a good job to respond when McEvoy asked for an effort after being "all at sea" midrace. 

"He lengthened out nicely and it ended up looking like a soft win despite what you would have seen at the 600," Duckworth said. 

"He's obviously a horse with plenty of talent and it's just completely untapped at the moment. 

"I'm sure once he works it all out it's going to be pretty exciting for everyone. 

"There's a massive amount of improvement." 

The Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1100m) for the fillies also produced a promising winner in the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Zoukerette

An $800,000 Magic Millions purchase, the daughter of I Am Invincible broke her maiden at start number four after a brace of competitive performances, including a last start second to subsequent stakes winner Zia

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