Favourite backers got off to a bad start when unfashionably-bred Kelbenjar scored an upset win in the Industrial & Protective Coatings Queensland Handicap at Doomben on Saturday.
Kelbenjar ($8) made it three wins from five starts, leading most of the way to down Morning Captain ($3.80) by 1-1/4 lengths.
Patinack Farm’s Pretty Pins ($1.85 fav), a half-sister to 2009 Group One Toorak Handicap winner Allez Wonder, filled the minor placing a further 1-1/2 lengths away.
Trainer Natalie McCall was in two minds over what tactics to employ on Kelbenjar whose previous wins were on his home track at Caloundra.
“That was a good solid win. He had to work hard to get over to the lead,” McCall said.
“We were in two minds before the race whether to take a sit or go to the front so I left it to his rider (Eddie Wilkinson).”
McCall is the daughter of prominent Caloundra trainer Ray McCall and has only been training for four years.
“Today was my fourth winner in town and I’ve set a goal to make it five before the year is out,” she said.
“This horse is not fashionably bred but he can certainly gallop.
“His last-start win at Caloundra was just super. He struggled with shin-soreness all through his last preparation so we knew he was a good horse.”
Kelbenjar is a son of little-known sire Kbenjar but his time of 1:08.90 for the 1200m showed he could be above average.
McCall was disappointed Kelbenjar was not eligible for the lucrative QTIS bonus scheme.
“I keep reminding his owners, who bred him, about him not being a QTIS horse,” McCall said.
McCall has no major plans in mind for Kelbenjar who is one of only nine horses she has in work.
“There’s another race similar to this coming up in a fortnight which he’ll probably go for,” she said.
Wilkinson told McCall he was never concerned after deciding to take the three-year-old to the front.
“He felt like he did it easily,” Wilkinson said.
“He’s a lovely type. I didn’t want them to dictate to us so I was happy to take him to the front.”
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