The Lion’s win at Randwick has helped Tamworth trainer Michelle Fleming put a trying few weeks behind her.
Ridden by Chris O’Brien, the $4 favourite dominated Saturday’s Highway Handicap (1100m) on the heavy track, beating Two ‘N’ Wellgo ($7) by 3-1/2 lengths a day after the Williams-trained St Luke was disqualified from his win at Scone in March.
St Luke tested positive to the banned substance synephrine, which was detected in vegetation he was feeding on in a paddock.
Williams was not penalised apart from a reprimand and stewards have again issued a warning about synephrine, which has been found in certain types of hay and feed.
“It was devastating,”Fleming said.
“Apparently it came from the trees in the paddock and dropped down to where he was feeding.
“The stewards have been great and helped me find where it was coming from.
“I feel so sorry for the owner. We just can’t put any horses in that paddock yet.
“Fortunately, The Lion was nowhere near it.”
Williams has aspirations to take The Lion to next month’s Grafton carnival, with his victory taking his record to four wins from 15 starts, with two from three starts on rain-affected tracks.
“He is a lovely horse. He is one of my favourites and I came here quietly confident today that he would handle the track because he trialled well on a soft track at Muswellbrook,” Williams said.