Few racing people celebrate victory with as much gusto as the Gelagotis brothers from Moe, who mark every metropolitan triumph as if it were a Group 1 win.
Hvasstan, who scored for the Gippsland stable in the 2040-metre Drummond Golf Handicap at Moonee Valley under Sydney rider Hugh Bowman, has won at group level earlier in his career, though he has yet to score at the highest grade.
But he might be given the chance to do so next weekend in the Mackinnon Stakes, assuming he shows no ill effects from his efforts at Moonee Valley when he started at $9 and was too tough for Bel Thor ($6.50), with outsider Grand Sai Wan ($31) third.
The stable won this race last year with Mourinho, but Hvasstan has always had more class than his stable companion, running fourth in last year's Victoria Derby and competing against the best of his age group
But he had seemed to lose his way a little this spring, although trainer Peter Gelagotis said there had been excuses with the hard tracks, the horse had been feeling his feet and not letting go hence the bar plates being applied. ''He's the best horse I have trained and he has answered the critics. We are back in the game now and whilst the field today might not have been that strong I was pleased to see him dig deep and fight when it mattered most, it was a good sign .'' the trainer declared.
His brother Manny was even more upbeat. ''I don't want this to sound arrogant, but he should have been in the last race [the Cox Plate] based on his best 3yo form and things just haven't worked out for him since '' he said.
''He was the No. 3 colt in Melbourne last spring behind Fiveandahalfstar and Super Cool who have since won at Group 1 level so the owners have been disappointed however he showed his class today which is a massive relief for everyone .''
Peter Gelagotis said that he would look to see how Hvasstan pulled up but the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington, a 2000-metre Group 1 test, could be on the agenda next Saturday or he may be saved for something later during the Flemington carnival.