Consistent mare Midnight Martini provided trainer Mark Kavanagh’s spring carnival with a glimpse of life with her win in the Group Two Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
In a race that proved more notorious for the failure of the favourite Silent Achiever, Midnight Martini ($8) added immensely to her stud value, scoring a comfortable three-quarter length win over Lake Sententia ($7.50).
Crafty Irna ($8) held third place a long head further away.
For the favourite Silent Achiever, however, the Matriarch turned into a mystery over the final 400m.
Silent Achiever ($2), last season’s New Zealand Derby winner, scored impressively in open company at Moonee Valley at her previous start and had been expected to do the same against her own sex in the Matriarch.
But after enjoying an easy run she showed no dash in the run home, finishing fourth.
Jockey Hugh Bowman could offer no explanation, saying the mare travelled well and pulled up without any sign of trouble.
“There was nothing there when I asked for it,” Bowman said.”
Trainer Roger James was similarly perplexed.
“It’s the first time she’s ever let me down,” James said.
“I have no excuses whatsoever.”
Midnight Martini gave Kavanagh only his third Melbourne winner for the season.
The only previous city winners this season for the trainer who has so often played a pivotal role with Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate wins in recent springs had been the Group Three Bobbie Lewis in September with We’re Gonna Rock and the Group Two Mitchelton Vase last month with Super Cool.