Harlem railed through for Michael Walker to win the $1.5million Australian Cup (Image: Racing Photos)
In a result reminiscent of last spring's Caulfield Cup, the Lindsay Park stable left punters stunned when the team won Saturday's TAB Australian Cup at Flemington with the $61 outsider Harlem.
Just six months ago, racegoers at Caulfield were left aghast when Lindsay Park's galloper Boom Time burst through to take the Caulfield Cup at $51 and there were similar scenes of disbelief when the imported Harlem won just his second race in this country in the $1.5million race.
After enjoying a soft run just off the speed, Harlem had a half length margin on the line over the $2.60 favourite Gailo Chop with another Lindsay Park import Ventura Storm ($31) also turning in a much improved run second-up.
WATCH: The 2018 Australian Cup
The Australian Cup result completed a triumphant day for the stable as earlier they claimed the Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap with the extraordinary Redkirk Warrior, who backed up from his Newmarket win of last year as a $31 outsider to score again, this time at $7.
While punters were a little shocked by the result, Lindsay Park principal David Hayes was not quite as flummoxed.
"His first-up run (when second in Carlyon Cup) was comparable to Gailo Chop's, but he got a little bit of a cold between runs but he was able to get over it and was back to his best today," Hayes said.
"We bought him as a stayer but when he was a colt and it got a bit tough he wouldn't let go at the finish but gee, he let go today.
"I was thrilled with the third horse (Ventura Storm) also. I think the Tancred for both of them and then we'll have a look at the Sydney Cup with them."
The two Group 1 wins for the stable took the tally to five so far this season. But while the Group 1s are finished in Melbourne for 2017/18, the stable is looking interstate to Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane in the coming months to add to the tally.
Terry Henderson of OTI Racing said he was delighted with the way Gailo Chop raced after being worried for the first part of the race by The Taj Mahal and Supply And Demand, who battled for early supremacy.
"He was incredibly brave and we'll get him up to Sydney now where I just hope we can strike a wet track. He is just such a superior wet track horse," Henderson said.
He was equally delighted with the seventh-placed Lord Fandango. "He was only beaten a few lengths and drops down to something like 52 or 53 kilograms in the Sydney Cup so we're thrilled with what he showed us today."
Nick Williams said he felt Melbourne Cup winner Almandin was unlucky as he tried to find a few neat runs near the inside rail late in the race.
"He's gone really well," Williams said. "Unfortunately he didn't get a run there in the last furlong. Probably Taj (The Taj Mahal) coming back (tiring) cost us but he was the unlucky runner of the race.
"Both he and Taj will now go to Sydney and for the Tancred."
Williams said Macedon Lodge's third runner Homesman also performed well but now might be put on ice until the spring.
"He ran really well as he missed the kick," he explained. "He's a go-forward horse but ended up racing midfield and ended up wide on the track, where it is pretty hard to make ground."
WATCH: The Australian Cup beaten jockeys