Mongolian Marshal, ridden by Brett Prebble, wins the Winter Championship Final (Image: Racing Photos)
Winter Finals Day was promoted as the coronation of 25-year-old rider Jamie Kah but Brett Prebble, the holder of the 20-year record she is on the verge of eclipsing, made headlines at Flemington one more time.
Prebble swooped aboard the Stuart Gower-trained Mongolian Marshal to claim the main race on the nine race-card, the $160,000 Listed Seppelt Wines VRC/CRV Winter Championship Series Final (1600m).
Furrion finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length, after settling in the box-seat while Biometric raced outside the leader Dice Roll and stayed on gamely for third.
The Nick Ryan-trained Dice Roll incurred his first loss on Australian soil at the fourth attempt, trying to lead throughout but was outsprinted in fourth, albeit not wilting on his effort at the finish.
Prebble twice rode nine winners during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in 1999 and 2000 and wedged in between that dominance was an incredible 1999/00 season haul of 99.5 winners in Melbourne.
The period in which Prebble ruled Melbourne's ranks saw far less metropolitan racing in Melbourne, night racing at Moonee Valley was only a few years old and nowhere near as prevalent.
That is not to mark down Kah's incredible achievements over the past 11 months in a COVID-19 impacted first full season based in Melbourne, records after all are made to be broken and Prebble's will fall imminently.
“He’s a little beauty," Prebble said of Mongolian Marshal after riding his third Melbourne winner for the season after having a six-month break between November and April.
"Last start it was just too wet for him, he kept dipping and diving and I was just spraying that the rain would go away last night. We had 7mm but the track is perfect - virgin ground.
“He got his footing and showed that good turn-of-foot today and got up on them quick. I was very mindful of getting to the front on him (too early). It was a long 300 metres last time when I got to the front on him so I bided my time."
Prebble believes Mongolian Marshal, an eight-time winner by High Chaparral aged six, can win more races despite his handicap rating likely to rise into triple figures after his
“He had a fair bit left. He is really peaking now. Stuey (Gower) has got him flying. He shouldn’t have been a 40/1 chance and he won like a five-buck (chance). Stuey has done a great job getting him back to this form.
“I just felt the leader had a bit of a soft time of it today. It was a bit of a muddling sort of run race so I popped him out, got him into his gear without actually asking for his effort until I needed to.
“Then when I did, I gave him one ‘bang’ just to keep him straight. He’s really honest and he went to the line without much encouragement.
“Now I know his tricks and there’s another win in him for sure. He’s a lovely horse."
This year's Winter Championship Final may not be remembered as a one of the better editions with just 3.2 lengths covering the nine-horse field with a 1.5kg spread in the handicap for the off-peak Melbourne mile feature.