Skanda returned to racing in style on Sunday when he scored by a nose in the QTIS three year old maiden over 800m. Having his sixth start, the promising youngster had already been unlucky in previous starts.

“I certainly didn’t expect this horse to only be winning his maiden at start six,” Herne said.

“He’s shown plenty of ability on the track but has been plagued by bad barriers. He’s a speedy little character and each time I thought he could win he’d draw the widest barrier. Today was no different and he was given his usual barrier but now that he’s had a bit of race experience he’s learnt to settle and Brad was able to settle him back in the field. He was also aided by a great ride.”

Skanda showed his usual gate speed and was the first horse out of the barriers. By the 600m mark it was clear to jockey Brad Pengelly he wasn’t going to be able to cross so elected to ease him back behind the leading pack. He waited till they straightened to peel out for a strong run home to score by a nose over race favourite Jennifer Juniper in a time of 47.32.

“He’s run a pretty smart time today too,” Herne said.

“The track’s a Heavy 8 and they’ve come home in 33.32 so he’s probably run sub 33 which is a great effort on a wet track.

“We came here confident he’d handle the track. His mother was a swimmer and won two metro races on bog tracks but he’s more than handled it running that sort of time.”

Jockey Brad Pengelly was also quick to praise the win.

“I know the boys haven’t done much with him and were pretty much treating this run as a barrier trial,” Pengelly said.

“He’s having a good blow after that and is still racing a bit green so he’s got a good bit of improvement left in him.”