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Image: Darren Winningham

Trainer Steve O’Dea was worried in the middle stages when Sabkhat had a huge lead in the Kohan and Chet Open Handicap at Doomben.

However, he need not have worried as his gelding ($2.70) raced away to win by 3-1/4 lengths to Stella Ombra ($9) on Saturday in an exceptional time for a winter track of 1.18.28.

The time was only 0.56 seconds outside the class record of 1.17.73 and just outside the course record 1.17.09.

O’Dea had entered Sabkhat for the Open Handicap and a 1600m race but decided to drop the gelding back to shorter distance of 1350m.

“He had a better barrier in the Open Handicap and with Jackson Murphy’s three-kilogram claim, he carried only 51 kilograms,” O’Dea said.

“I must admit I was worried when he was so far in front and I wouldn’t like that to happen every race.

“But Jackson is riding well and it was good he took the option to make them chase him.”

Murphy has been in great form and it was his fourth metropolitan winner of the week after a double at Doomben last Saturday and a winner at the same track on Wednesday.

“Sabkhat was going strongly so I just let him go and I knew I was on a fit horse,” he said.

Trainer Kelly Schweida said it had been a plan to have Stella Ombra in touch with the leaders.

“But the leader really got along and he had three kilograms on us at the weights,” he said.

Another apprentice, Michael Murphy, got a winning double when Goodonya Sonja ($13) got up to beat leader Sista Act ($9) by a long neck in the Xplore Resources Plate (1200m).

Murphy, who had earlier won on Archer’s Paradox, used his initiative to make certain Goodonya Sonja was in contact with Sista Act on the home turn in the race for two- and three-year-olds.

Trainer Lindsay Gough said the addition of blinkers to Goodonya Sonja’s race-day gear had made a big difference.

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