Zestful makes a second attempt to qualify for the Magic Millions carnival next month following her dogged victory in the Razor Sharp Handicap at Randwick.
The six-year-old mare followed up her fourth in the Listed Starlight Stakes at Rosehill a fortnight ago with a win at Randwick that locks her on a path to the Gold Coast.
Zestful ($13) held off $4.20 favourite I Thought So to win by a short head while Kuro ($26) was 2-3/4 lengths third.
Trainer Kris Lees said the Listed Nudgee Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on December 30 was now on the agenda, with the winner gaining a start in the $1 million Magic Millions (1300m) fillies and mares race on January 13.
Although purchased at the Magic Millions sales Zestful wasn’t registered to run on the race day so she has to take the wildcard route.
Lees used the same strategy last year when Zestful was unplaced at the Nudgee Stakes at Eagle Farm.
“She’s probably going better now, she’s racing at a higher level now,” Lees said.
Zestful has regrouped since a 10th in the Group Three Skip Sprint (1100m) on her first trip to Melbourne last month.
“It didn’t work out going down the straight at Flemington but she was really good in her recent run,” Lees said.
He said the win was some consolation after pre-race favourite Sugar Bella was a late scratching from the Catanach’s Handicap.
The mare was withdrawn after jockey Kerrin McEvoy broke a bone in his hand when trying to bring her under control en route to the barriers.
“That’s racing is’t it? It’s bad luck for Kerrin really. The horse will be around next week, he might be out for a month,” Lees said.