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Punters suffered another blow at Flemington with the upset win of Harbour Views in The Sofitel

Trainer Matthew Williams was as surprised as anyone with the upset victory of Harbour Views at Flemington.

Having his first run back from surgery on a sesamoid injury, Harbour Views made a late lunge to take out the Listed The Sofitel (1400m) on Saturday.

Providing Damian Lane the second leg of a winning double, Harbour Views ($26) got up in final stride to defeat Cherry Tortoni ($12) by a half-head with the $1.45 favourite Ayrton a half-neck away third.

Harbour Views was having his first outing since Melbourne Cup Day last year when finishing 11th in the Listed Cup Day Plate (1800m) at Flemington.

The French-bred gelding had contested two Group 1 races prior to that – the Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes – which had followed a fighting third to Humidor in the Feehan Stakes at The Valley.

Williams expected Harbour Views to run well on Saturday but did not expect the gelding to be defeating the short-priced favourite Ayrton.

“I thought he’d be hitting the line strong, but I didn’t see him running over the top of them late,” Williams said.

“He’s prepped up beautifully. He’s lovely and sound. He would normally tighten up after a couple of trials, but he just hasn’t done it this prep.

“He’s a year older, he’s had a fair time in between runs so I couldn’t say I expected him to win today, but we were confident he’d be running well and heading to a Sandown Stakes second-up.”

Williams said he may now have to revise those thoughts and maybe keep the gelding fresh and at shorter trips, rather than stretch him out in distance.

“We’ve tried him over further, but I’m not convinced,” Williams said.

“I know he’s run good races over 1800 metres and 2000, but he was looking pretty nice there over 1400 metres with the genuine speed.

“Maybe we keep him fresh and target something shorter.”

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