A vintage ride from Jim Cassidy has helped Barbed spoil the party for Ball Of Muscle in the Listed Canterbury Classic.
The winner of six of his previous eight starts, Ball Of Muscle was sent out the $2.90 favourite to win his first test at stakes level.
Jason Collett took him straight to the front and controlled the race until the final 50m when Cassidy steered Barbed ($10) through a gap.
Barbed got the photo-finish decision by a head with the consistent Dothraki ($3.60) another neck away third.
Cassidy, who will be out for most of January because of suspension, said he waited until the final few strides to launch his bid.
“You don’t win races at the top of the straight, you win them at the bottom of the straight,” Cassidy said.
With trainer John O’Shea spending Christmas in Canada, Henry Plumptre, managing director of Godolphin’s Australian arm, said a decision on where Barbed went next would wait.
“He is a horse who has had a few problems but he has shown how good he is fresh,” Plumptre said.
“He was a very good horse last year but he has struggled this year.
“We have always had a good opinion of him. This is an important race for him to win and he was beautifully ridden.
“I do know he won’t go travelling. He will stay in Sydney to race.”
Ball Of Muscle’s trainer Joe Pride was pleased with the four-year-old’s effort.
“It was a shame to get beaten like that but it was his first go in stakes company and he just found one too good,” he said.
“And it was a beautiful ride from Jimmy on the winner.”
Dothraki’s trainer Gerald Ryan said he and the owners would discuss options for the gelding over the next few days.
“The Magic Millions Sprint is still an option but if he doesn’t go to the Gold Coast then he will go to the paddock,” he said.
“He has put four good runs together now and is much more consistent than he was before we gelded him.”