Two narrow verdicts helped the David Hayes stable to a treble at Saturday’s Flemington meeting.
Red Fez won the Maidstone Handicap (1400m) by a nose, while Churchill Dancer had a half-head in his favour at the end of the Smithfield Handicap (1200m).
Churchill Dancer’s success broke a winning drought stretching back to his victory in the VOBIS Gold Ingot at the corresponding meeting last year.
Churchill Dancer ($17) held off the late charge of Consorting ($7.50) to score his second win from 17 starts.
Hayes stable representative Tom Dabernig said a gear change and a smart ride from jockey Michael Walker led to Churchill Dancer’s win.
“Michael rode him beautifully. He got cover and he ran through the line strongly,” Dabernig said.
Red Fez’s jockey Michael Rodd got the best out of the mare in the Maidstone Handicap.
The $3.90 favourite snapped a 14-month losing streak when she lasted to beat the $4.80 second favourite Gig.
Red Fez was Group Two-placed as a three-year-old, but she provided Hayes with a welcome win in the Benchmark 84 contest.
“David has had a lot of seconds this year, so it was nice to get one go his way,” Dabernig said.
Spacecraft rounded out the treble when he scored a shock win for Hayes in the Macaulay Handicap (1400m).
The six-year-old saves his best form for Moonee Valley, but led throughout to post his first win from 10 races at Flemington as a $61 outsider.
“We haven’t had a city treble for a fair while, so it was great,” Dabernig said.