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Image: Steve Hart

Boom four-year-old and touted Everest contender Masked Crusader was beaten at Randwick on Saturday in a BM 88 over 1100m.

But, he lost no admirers.

The very heavy track probably took itโ€™s toll as he went quite wide around the home turn looking for better going so as to chase down the winner VARDA (Lonhro-Wild Queen) who made it four straight when she pinged away as soon as they turned for home and held tough to just win.

โ€œIt is such a pleasant feeling to be able to push the button at the top of the straight when youโ€™re on a really fit horse and she is really fit.

โ€œVery gutsy win because I could feel big Masked coming, โ€ said her rider James McDonald.

Indeed he was. He blew from $16 to $25 in The Everest betting after having his colours lowered here, but he was beaten by an improving mare who is headed to stakes company now.

Varda has won 5 of her 10 starts and over $306,000 in prizemoney.

The win came about because McDonald went for home first.

He was tracking the pace and Masked Crusader (Toronado-Sheโ€™s Got Gears) was tracking him. Both jocks went to just past the middle of the track looking for superior ground, but while Tommy Berry on the $1.90 fav (Sportsbet) cuddled him over the rise, Jay Mac took off on the mare the moment she straightened up.

She got 3 lengths on him and though he kept chipping away at the margin, he failed by a long neck to reel her in.

They were 5 lengths clear of Royal Tudor back in 3rd.

Masked Crusader ran a stunning last 600m in the mud.

 
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