Small field suits Final Man in Sandown win

Craig Brennan

Final Man has overcome a slow start to complete a winning hat-trick in strong fashion at Sandown.

After wins at Pakenham and Sandown at his past two starts, Final Man added Saturday's Salute Frontline Workers Handicap (1200m) to his record.

Final Man has now won four of his seven starts and has proven a good money spinner for trainer Nick Harnett and his connections.

With Damien Oliver aboard, Final Man was sent out the $2.70 favourite before registering a 2-1/4 length win from Ancestry ($4.60) with Sovereign Legend ($11) a half-neck away third.

Final Man's task was made easier with 10 opponents scratched on Saturday,bringing the gelding in from barrier 17 to gate seven over the 1200m journey.

Oliver was having his first ride on the gelding, replacing apprentice Thomas Stockdale, currently sidelined by suspension.

Oliver said he wasn't planning to take Final Man to the lead.

"I thought Ancestry would lead but they were going too slow, so I let him bowl to the front," Oliver said.

"He's a big, free-going type of horse, he's a quirky bugger and he likes to have a look around and take it all in.

"He even spotted the cameras near the winning post.

"But they've got him going well and the wet doesn't pull him up either."

Harnett would like to see Final Man's rating increase over the winter months in the hope of getting the gelding into better races during the spring.

The trainer is planning to start Final Man over 1400m at Flemington in two weeks time.

"We could wait for the spring but he'll be a four-year-old then and there's a lot of races worth a lot of money now," Harnett said.