Sprightly Lass offered some relief to the hammering punters had taken by scoring a fighting win in the Bel Esprit Stakes at Caulfield.
Punters had witnessed three odds-on favourites in a row go under on Saturday’s program before the win of Sprightly Lass.
Kiwia was backed into $1.80 favouritism in the VOBIS Gold Heath before running second to $16 chance Self Sence.
At $61 Sam’s Image accounted for Nature Strip ($1.65) in the VOBIS Gold Dash before $1.55 favourite Cliff’s Edge finished out of the money in the VOBIS Sires’.
Backed from $3.50 to $3 in the Listed 1100m sprint, Sprightly Lass, under Dwayne Dunn, fought back after being headed in the straight to score a three-quarter length win over Bons Away ($4.40) with Malibu Style ($12) a nose away third.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said with some luck Sprightly Lass could have an unblemished record which currently stands at seven starts for five wins and two seconds.
At her previous outing in Sydney last month, Sprightly Lass was first past the post only to lose the race on protest to Dothraki.
“It was a bit unfortunate the other day but we’ve bounced back today with a good victory,” Hawkes said.
“She’s only ever been beaten twice. That was the other day and on a heavy track at Sandown.”
Hawkes doubts the mare will travel to Adelaide for next month’s Group One Sangster Stakes at Morphettville, conceding the 1200m may be a shade too far.
“If she could lead over the 1200 (metres) easily she’d probably be right but I don’t think she’d get a soft lead in a Sangster,” Hawkes said.
“She’s not going to stud this year, so there’s no rush and small fish are sweet.
“She’s a stakes winner now, which is important.”
Dunn said there was merit in the victory after the runner-up got as much as a half-length in front before the mare fought back.
“Bassett softened me up a bit early and then Noel Callow on Bons Away went early,” Dunn said.
“I was trying to hang on for as long as possible because I was worried she would be suspect at 1100 metres, but through the line she was strong.
“She might get 1200 now on that.”