NOBODY could pick it . . . and most nearby observers actually got it wrong.
And even Kiwi reinsman John Dunn thought he had been beaten when they reached the line in last night’s $200,000 Boden Projects Ladyship Mile at Club Menangle.
Dunn had just made a late burst with polemarker Bettors Heart and to the naked eye it looked as if he had just failed to grab a desperate Luke McCarthy and Bettor Enforce right on the line.
Yet the ace mare not only scored, by a nose, she also broke the magical 1:50 mark by covering the mile in 1:49.7 and in doing so subsequently received an invitation into the elite field for next Saturday night’s $1million Ainsworth Miracle Mile.
“Whew, I thought I had left it a little too late,” said Dunn, the brother of champion Kiwi reinsman Dexter Dunn, who has been driving in the US for the past two years.
The late and narrow victory robbed McCarthy of his second Group One of the night after his earlier win in the $100,000 Allied Express Sprint with King Of Swing.
Our Princess Tiffany came from well back to grab third, just in front of Belle Of Montana.
Bettors Heart’s trainer Peter Bagrie has been stabled with Shane and Lauren Tritton for the past week and gave the champion pair a lot of the credit for their mighty win.
“Shane has been a terrific help to me this week in getting this mare ready to run the race of her life,” Bagrie said.
“We weren’t certain she had got there but she has done a great job for us both in New Zealand and here . . . and she didn’t let us down.”
McCarthy looked to have done enough with Bettor Enforce and was more than impressed with the Craig Cross-trained daughter of Bettors Delight.
“That’s as good a run as you’ll see in defeat,” McCarthy said.
“I thought Belle Of Montana (gate two) might get out of the gate a bit better than she did, but that didn’t happen.
“That left us to do it a bit tougher.
“My horse did all the work in quick time early and she went down in a really quick time; she went amazing really.”
Ironically, had Bettor Enforce won the race by a nose instead of losing by that much, she would almost certainly have been a Miracle Mile invitee as well, which would have given her trainer Cross three of the eight runners in the million dollar race.
As it is, with King Of Swing and Alta Orlando, he still looks the trainer they all have to beat.