In one of the greatest boilovers in a feature race, the Horsham-trained galloper Lunar Fox has taken out the Australian Guineas at odds of $301.
In doing so he became the longest-priced Group One winner since Abaridy claimed the Caulfield Guineas at $251 in 1986.
His trainer Paul Preusker wasn’t even at Flemington and he left the saddling duties to his partner, former jockey Holly McKechnie.
The win gave Preusker, who is best known for training Surprise Baby, his first Group One winner.
It was Lunar Fox’s first victory since he won the Group Two VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Flemington last March.
McKechnie said she couldn’t believe Lunar Fox had won and said the feeling was surreal.
She felt “the old trick” of placing blinkers on him for the first time had done the job.
Lunar Fox had finished fifth in last year’s Caulfield Guineas but resumed with a poor twelfth in the C S Hayes Stakes which McKechnie said was an out-of-character performance.
“He’s always trying this horse. Getting to the outside and the addition of blinkers certainly helped him,” McKechnie said.
McKechnie was queried by Racing Victoria stewards about the horse’s improvement.
She told them they expected a better run but they were surprised that he won.
The victory gave Michael Dee his fifth Group One win and he was also shocked Lunar Fox won.
Dee admitted he didn’t give the horse much of a chance going into the race.
“No one else really did either,” Dee said.
“All I could do today was do my job and do it to the best of my ability. Hopefully the horse ran well in doing so.
“Having the blinkers on today led to a massive improvement.
“They drilled it into me before the race to stay off the fence. From the gate we were able to get the perfect run three-wide and work into it.”
Lunar Fox ($301) held off a strong challenge from Cherry Tortoni ($10), who came from last, by a half-length with Tagaloa ($3.50 fav) third.