Anchored by 60kg, Avoid Lightning has failed by just a neck to defend the Listed June Stakes at Randwick.
But her trainer Les Bridge is not disheartened, declaring Saturday’s second to Wouldn’t It be Nice the perfect warm-up to the Group One Tattersall’s Tiara at the Gold Coast in two weeks.
Ridden by Josh Parr, Avoid Lightning, the $3.10 favourite, got the perfect run in the 1100m feature but Wouldn’t It Be Nice ($21) came through on her inside in the final 50m.
The 6kg weight difference was crucial as the well-regarded wet-track performer gained the upper hand in the last strides.
“She had a beautiful run and Josh (Parr) rode her perfectly,” Bridge said.
“I was always worried about the 60 kilos and knew we were up against it but she’s flying and I couldn’t be happier with her going to the Gold Coast.”
While Avoid Lightning steps up to Group One level for her next start, Shannon Perry, foreman for his father Paul, said the next step for Wouldn’t It Be Nice would be assessed in a few days.
“We weren’t sure if it would be wet enough for him,” he said.
“We’ll let the dust settle over next few days.
“If it looks as if it might be a wet Ramornie then that might be something to look at.
“With Zaratone in the race there is always a chance for the back markers.”
A natural leader, Zaratone ($12) strode to the front and although no match in the end for the first two, he held on to third after finishing second a year ago.
Parr, who was filling in on Avoid Lightning for Tim Clark who rode at Doomben on Saturday, was disappointed not to have won but proud of the mare.
“The weight just told in the last 50 to 80 metres,” he said.
The weight factor was what gave rival jockey Thomas Huet confidence he could claim his second stakes win.
“She had so much more weight and I thought we would get her in the end,” he said.
The former Frenchman spends much of his time riding on the provincial circuit and the Listed win was his second in Australia with the 2013 Winter Stakes on Under The Sun his first.