Grand Promenade, ridden by Jamie Kah, wins the Banjo Paterson Series Final (Image: Racing Photos)
Ciaron Maher and David Eustace posted an early Flemington double on Winter Finals Day as Jamie Kah edged closer to reaching triple figures for the season.
Melbourne's premiership leaders combined with improving stayer Grand Promenade in the $150,000 Lexus Banjo Paterson Series Final (2600m), that success coming after the unfancied Seiners Express won the $150,000 TAB Silver Bowl Series Final (1600m) under Harry Coffey.
Grand Promenade was double his starting price on raceday morning but defied the late drift to win by three lengths, eased at the finish by Kah as Royal Crown and Smokin' Pierro chased forlornly into the placings.
“He was very solid today," Kah said after riding her 98th Melbourne winner for the season, just two wins away from breaking Brett Prebble's record of 99.5 wins established in the 1999/00 season.
"He’s just a great horse to ride in front because as soon as he hits the front he relaxes and drops the bit.
“I think the way the races are playing out they’re leaving him alone in front and he’s just gaining confidence and a horse with confidence, they grow a few legs.
"I think this will take him towards the spring in good stead.”
Grand Promenade's spring path is likely to replicate stablemates Lord Belvedere (Banjo Paterson) and Persan (Mahogany Challenge) as winners on Flemington's Winter Finals Day and return for the $500,000 Group 3 Bart Cummings (2500m) in the first week of October in a bid for Melbourne Cup qualification.
Last year's Bart Cummings was won by Persan en route to finishing fourth to Twilight Payment in the $8m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).
“We tend to not fully spell our stayers," stable representative Lucy Yeomans said.
"He’ll probably have a week or two in the paddock, maybe then the waterwalker and then a bit of dressage work or beach work.
"He won’t have a big long holiday but he loves being in work so we’ll just freshen him up, keep him happy and plot a path to the spring.”
The three-quarter length victory of Seiners Express was largely courtesy of Coffey's weaving ride after settling last on the fence from his wide draw.
Seiners Express started $4 favourite at his previous start in a heat of the Silver Bowl series at Sandown Hillside on June 12, dropping out to finish last on the heavy (8) track with post-race vet checks revealing cardiac arrhythmia.
Those loyal to the three-year-old Shamexpress gelding were rewarded with a price almost five times greater at Flemington, finishing hard underneath Seb Song who tracked wide around the home turn under Kah.
“I just thought that I’ve got to cop my medicine and ride the race where I’m put. I actually wanted to follow Jamie (Kah on Seb Song) the whole way and just early on there was a bit of maneuvering going on," Coffey said.
“I got pushed to the inside just off her heels and I thought I’ll just have to cop this now. The race, they kept running along nicely. I was traveling super and I thought if I got a bit of room he’s a chance of running third.
“Late when everyone was bobbing up and down in the one spot and I was still going alright I thought I’d better style here, I’m going to win. That’s how the race played out.
“We obviously had a lot of luck when the runs came but when he ridden that way and the luck comes, he can be pretty dynamic and that’s what he was today.”