Hellbent looped the field under Craig Williams to win the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)
Darren Weir has known for some time the importance of landing a Group 1 win with Hellbent.
A son of one of the hottest stallions in the country, I Am Invincible, a stud career was assured if he could win at the highest level.
But only adding to the pressure on Weir's shoulders was who Hellbent is owned by. Among the group that race him are members of the Mitchell family, who stand I Am Invincible at Yarraman Park in New South Wales.
Weir's relief was therefore obvious after Hellbent snared the $500,000 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
"The owners have let us put him where we've wanted to and there's been a little bit of frustration there, but finally we’ve got the result that the horse deserves," Weir said.
"He'll find a home now, hopefully up at Yarraman. He's an I Am Invincible colt, a beautiful looking horse with lots of ability, so he's got plenty of things going for him."
The five-year-old broke a 544-day drought when he charged over the top of his rivals in the weight-for-age event.
The $10 chance, who was ridden by Craig Williams, scored by half-a-length from Thronum ($8) with Catchy ($15) one length further back third.
Hellbent's winning time was 1:09.36 – 0.07secs outside Miss Andretti’s track record – which included a 23.58secs final 400m.
Weir has thought many times before that Hellbent was ready to break the Group 1 duck, but hasn’t seen him better than he was in the lead-up to the William Reid, in no small part due to the dedication of strapper Nick Gottlewski.
"Tonight he was in the best mood he's ever been in," Weir said.
"We found a spot out the back that he was happy in, just looking at the wall, so the strapper didn't have much of a night.
"But he stood there for three hours just looking at the wall and the horse wasn't doing anything wrong, so I just said, 'leave him there', so full credit to Nick.
"He saddled up great – he's normally very hard to saddle – so he was just in a better mood all round and obviously raced great."
Weir said a decision would be made in coming days as to where Hellbent is likely to head next.
Of the unplaced brigade, Supido caught the eye flashing home for fourth after missing the start, while Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign ($7, eighth) and Secret Agenda ($5.50 fav, ninth), who dropped out in the straight after racing in prominent positions.
Secret Agenda was noted by stewards to have pulled up with a slow recovery, while She Will Reign was found to be lame in the off fore.