A track change in Adelaide paved the way to a Flemington victory for River’s Lane on Saturday.
Trainer Ryan Balfour was preparing the eight-year-old for a race over 1800m at Morphettville on Saturday but a delay in track renovations resulted in the meeting being transferred to the inner Parks track.
The transfer meant the distance for the race was also increased to 1950m, a trip considered too far for River’s Lane.
With a preferred trip between 1600m and 1800m, Balfour picked out the $80,000 Patrobas Handicap (1720m) at Flemington and the victory provided the gelding with his first success away from the outer Morphettville circuit.
The victory provided Damien Oliver a rare long-shot winner with River’s Lane ($71) fighting hard to defeat Turnitaround ($4.80) by a short head with Harveys True Heart ($11) 2-1/2 lengths away third.
Balfour stayed in Adelaide where he saddled five runners at the Morphettville Parks meeting.
The victory came as no surprise to Oliver after a pre-meeting talk with Balfour.
“I spoke to Ryan this morning and he said he was not without a chance,” Oliver said.
“He wouldn’t have brought him over if he wasn’t.”
Oliver had River’s Lane up in fourth position and knew the gelding would be hard to hold out off a slow speed.
“Once they settled in their positions they went at a pedestrian pace and it was going to be hard for anything back in the field,” he said.