In the space of two weekends during The Championships under-rated gelding Sense Of Occasion has more than doubled his career earnings without winning a race.
After finishing third in the $3 million Doncaster Mile last Saturday week, connections of the Kris Lees-trained Sense Of Occasion decided to also give the gelding a crack at the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.
And while, as expected, he was no match for champion Winx who streeted her nearest rival Hartnell by 5-1/4 lengths, Sense Of Occasion again ran a big race to snare another third placing.
With a glance at the racebook after the Queen Elizabeth, Lees did the maths.
Sense Of Occasion had earned $300,000 for his Doncaster placing, and added another $400,000 on Saturday.
“$700,000. Geez,” Lees said.
“He has run two thirds in two of our flagship races.
“He has surprised me actually.”
Sense Of Occasion won the Group Two Villiers at Randwick in December to earn a ballot exemption in the Doncaster.
“He deserved the right to run in the Doncaster,” Lees said.
“I went in open-minded. And I knew he pulled up well from the Doncaster.”
That brought the Queen Elizabeth into focus even though it appeared a mere formality that Winx would win.
“I just said to the owners, ‘we can wait for a Lord Mayor’s Cup for $150,000 or run in the Queen Elizabeth,” Lees said.
“You don’t like going to the races not to win, but go there to run third or fourth’. And that’s what he’s done and earned them another $400,000.”
Sense Of Occasion has now raced 32 times for seven wins and nine placings.
His Queen Elizabeth Stakes prize money has taken his career earnings to $1,267,020 with Lees now looking a races over the Queensland winter carnival.
The Queen Elizabeth was an all too familiar story for Godolphin’s Hartnell who had to settle for a second placing to Winx for the fourth time this season.
“He was very game,” trainer John O’Shea said.
“He’s been game all season and we just keep running into her.
“She’s a freak, and we all know that. He’s game, and we all know that.
“He’s a great little horse. Any other year he’d have won a Cox Plate and that race (Queen Elizabeth). It’s a big difference.”