True Self winning the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)
History repeated at Flemington on Seppelt Wines Stakes Day as True Self, the first horse balloted out of the Melbourne Cup field for the second-consecutive year, defended her title in Saturday's $200,000 Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m).
The Irish mare trained by Willie Mullins settled three back on the fence under Hugh Bowman and then struggled to gain clear running on straightening but barged her way into the clear between Creedence and Le Don De Vie before surging inside the final 200 metres to score by a length.
Bendigo Cup runner-up Pondus had to settle for second again but lost no admirers in defeat while Herbert Power Stakes winner Chapada finished a further length away in third.
"There was a narrow run in front of me and when I committed to go to it, the horse on the outside just rolled in on me slightly," Bowman said.
"There wasn't much room, but I had plenty of energy left, this filly did, and was I was able to balance her up and get through there, she sprinted pretty quickly.
"The slow pace actually suited us to be honest. Once she got clear running, she was dominant."
True Self had been unplaced from six starts since last year's Queen Elizabeth victory and been battling for form.
The Northern Hemisphere seven-year-old mare blew the start by 12 lengths in the Ebor Handicap (2785m) and then didn't handle the Soft 6 conditions when 13th in the G1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
"Willie would be delighted," said Mullins' travelling foreman David Casey as True Self earned a $200,000 bonus for winning the Queen Elizabeth for winning after being balloted out of the Melbourne Cup.
"We were a little bit disappointed at Caulfield but were delighted to come back here and win.
"The draw on the day at Caulfield looked good but it was the ninth race on the day and it just got a bit chopped up on the inside. And I think that we didn't have her fit enough as we could have.
"I think she came forward plenty for here and her work during the week was very positive."
Damien Oliver made no excuses for Pondus, who was beaten for acceleration off the sit-sprint tempo.
"We had a good run, we certainly had our chance, but we just found one with a bit better turn of foot than him," Oliver said.
Shared Ambition was disappointing in finishing seventh, beaten 4.95 lengths, with rider Craig Williams suggesting his mount would be suited between 1600 and 2000m.