Talented sprinter Lone Rock triggered a review of her spring program after she stormed home to score an upset win in the Group Three Bobbie Lewis Quality at Flemington.
Favourite Bel Sprinter ($3.70) looked set to keep his unbeaten record intact when he was holding his rivals at bay inside the 200-metre mark but the Robert Smerdon-trained mare, at $21, swept down the outside to blouse him by a long neck.
Rank outsider Danzylum ($151) was a half-length away third.
Smerdon missed the win as he was in Korea where his son Xavier was getting married.
Assistant trainer Henry Dwyer said the victory was unexpected and suggested that Lone Rock’s next planned run in the Group Three How Now Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in two weeks could be upgraded to the Group One Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 24.
“I think she might be better than we think,” Dwyer said.
“She keeps stepping up to the mark.”
Lone Rock has a habit of surprising the stable and two starts ago at $31 won the Group One The Goodwood (1200m) in Adelaide in May.
“In the Goodwood we thought she was a rough chance of running a place and she came out and won and today we would have been happy if she finished off looking towards a longer race and she has come out and won pretty easily in the end,” Dwyer said.
“It was an unbelievable win.
“The next option is a race at Caulfield in two weeks time but now she has come out and done that you wouldn’t be surprised if there is a better race in store.
“The Rupert Clarke might be an option now.”
Saturday’s 1200-metre sprint looked to have got away from Lone Rock as jockey Mark Zahra tried to angle for a run from the 400 metres from behind a wall of horses.
He finally got clear at the 200 metres and Lone Rock charged home.
Dwyer said that while a Group Three race, Saturday’s field was comparable to a Newmarket or a Salinger Stakes.
“It is probably her best career win,” Dwyer said.
Bel Sprinter’s trainer Jason Warren was disappointed that he had been gunned down in the last couple of strides and denied his fifth win from as many starts.
“He was exposed too long up and saw too much daylight,” Warren said.
“He has run out of his skin but the winner had the soft run behind them while he did all the hard work.”
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