Play Master returns a winner at Flemington

Homebred gelding Play Master continues to repay Benalla horseman Peter Smith, returning to racing with a dominant win at Flemington.

The Smith-trained Play Master is a son of unheralded stallion Masterprint, who Smith owns, and notched his eighth victory from 16 starts with his three-quarter length win in Saturday’s Red Tempo Handicap (1000m).

“I love this horse,” Smith said.

“I reared him. His mother died when he was about two weeks old and I had to get up three times a night to feed him for three months.

“One night, I remember it vividly, it was raining, about 10 degrees and I was drenched and I said `one day you’ll pay me back’.

“He’s doing it in spades.”

Smith said Play Master, who hadn’t raced since a Flemington win in August, was seriously underdone for Saturday’s race but still managed to win.

After getting cover early, apprentice Jye McNeil set out after leader Fab Fevola and then Play Master ($10) held his rivals off in the last 100m to beat Gallant Harmony ($7) with The Quarterback ($5.50) third.

“I didn’t expect him to win but he’s got brilliance,” Smith said.

“He’s a really, really good horse.”

Smith indicated he was likely to resist the temptation to run the sprinter in the Group Three Standish Handicap at Flemington on New Year’s Day as it might come around too soon.

Play Master provided McNeil with a winning double on the program.

The apprentice won the opening race aboard two-year-old Claudia Jean and is now unbeaten from three rides on Play Master.