Jye McNeil winning aboard Semillion

Jye McNeil winning aboard Semillion (Image: Racing Photos)

McNeil praises 'professional' Semillion

Jye McNeil has hailed the professional performance of Semillion, who led throughout to win the $400,000 Inglis Banner (1000m) at The Valley on Saturday.

Ridden aggressively by McNeil from barrier four to find the rail first, Semillion ($12) defeated Lady Harlem ($10) by two lengths, with Nobel ($6.50) weaving between runners late for third, a further length away.

"He's the ultimate professional is the best way to describe him," McNeil said. "He knew what he had to do today and he put himself in the best possible position and acquitted himself really well. He's got ability to match."

WATCH: Semillion's win

Semillion, who is trained by Hawkes Racing, was the second-most-expensive colt in the Inglis Banner after being purchased for $300,000 from this year's Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

The Inglis Banner is a two-year-old sprint race restricted to Inglis Sale graduates and carries restricted Listed black-type status.

However, unlike the most expensive colt, $2.1 million buy Nobel who was among the market leaders, Semillion was always at double-figure odds, albeit with some market support on race day and started at $12.

"At the end of the day you know what you've got and I wasn't worried about the odds," Wayne Hawkes said. "It is all about how they jump and he had flown a couple of times in his jumpouts.

"We were quietly confident and one thing we know is that it is a restricted race and so it doesn't have the homebreds and the Magic Millions horses, being an Inglis race if you think you can win you know you don't have all the opposition like in a Maribyrnong or something like that.

"This is the end of the prep. He's strong in the shoulder and he's strong in behind but he's quite narrow in the middle. I reckon winning a $400,000 race on Cox Plate Day, he's earned a break."

Semillion became the fourth Stakes winner for Shalaa, who sired last season's Magic Millions winner Shaquero from his first Australian crop.

His dam, Sistonic, won two races, including at The Valley and is a sister of Listed Carlyon Stakes winner Iconic.

Sistonic is also a three-quarter sister-in-blood to champion Australian sprinter Black Caviar and by extension closely related to past Group 1 winners for the Hawkes stable All Too Hard and Ole Kirk.

Semillion is the first two-year-old Stakes winner for Hawkes Racing in Melbourne since Ole Kirk won the Talindert Stakes in February 2017.

McNeil completed an early double on Cox Plate Day, with Dexelation ($8) winning his 10th race from 42 starts in claiming the $130,000 Ladbrokes Handicap (1000m).

McNeil has ridden 17 winners this season, placing him fourth in the 2021/22 Melbourne Jockeys' Premiership.