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The Matthew Smith-trained Hurtle Myrtle has taken out the 2011 Sapphire Stakes at long odds.

Ridden by top hoop Damien Oliver, the mare defeated Kimillsy by 1 length with Marquardt a further neck away in third.

The mare was enetered in the Inglis Broodmale Sales next week, alongside Once Were Wild but both have been withdrawn.

The Matthew Smith-trained Hurtle Myrtle staved off possible retirement when she chimed in down the outside to win the Group Two Sapphire Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

Hurtle Myrtle is entered for the Easter Broodmare Sale in Sydney this week but her return to winning form in the 1200m event for mares is expected to put those plans on hold.

“There’s a big question mark over her being sold now,” a relieved Smith said.

“The owners wanted to race her and wanted to sell her if she didn’t come up. It was a big race for us today.”

Hurtle Myrtle was Group One-placed as a spring three-year-old in the 2009 Flight Stakes and came close to beating More Joyous when she finished a half-neck second to her in the Group Two Surround Stakes in March last year.

The daughter of Dane Shadow spent almost a year on the sidelines after last year’s Coolmore Classic and Smith said it had taken him time to get the talented mare back to her best to claim her first stakes victory.

“It’s just such a relief to get her back,” Smith said.

“She has always promised so much and has been the best horse in my stable.

“When a horse has had a year off it’s hard to get them back right when you want them to be.

“She had a few aches and pains so we backed off again after she raced at Warwick Farm (in the Wiggle Quality on March 5) and it’s just great to get her right.”

Hurtle Myrtle, ridden by Damien Oliver, finished off from back in the field to defeat Kimillsy by a length with a short half-head to Marquardt in third place.


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