The decision to run the mare Payroll on a seven-day back up in the Group Three Eclipse Stakes has been rewarded at Sandown.
The Richard Laming-trained Payroll narrowly defeated the Charlie Appleby-trained international visitor Kidmenever in a driving finish to Saturday’s Eclipse Stakes (1800m) with the two horses wide apart as they crossed the line.
Payroll’s jockey Damien Oliver and Kidmenever’s rider Kerrin McEvoy admitted they were both unsure who had won as they crossed the line, with Payroll getting home by a short half-head while Jacquinot Bay was another three-quarters of a length away third.
“I had no idea. We were too wide apart,” Oliver said.
The win was Payroll’s first from four starts this campaign after finishing second in the Group Two Matriarch Stakes a week earlier at Flemington.
“It was a good, tough win and she’s had a good preparation,” Oliver said.
“I think it was a good decision to back her up this week and she raced really well.”
McEvoy said Kidmenever began slowly before he got the five-year-old into a midfield position on the inside.
Kidmenever made his run along the inside in the straight while Payroll raced wide before coming down the centre of the track in the straight.
“I had to cut the corner and then I would have liked to have come out in the straight but he hung a bit to the left which had me on the rail,” McEvoy said.
“He only just went down but he has run really well.”