New Plymouth trainer Allan Sharrock is eyeing the Melbourne Cup with Shez Sinsational who claimed a heart-stopping victory in the group two Hollindale Stakes at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Shez Sinsational ($5) held on for a nose win in the 1800m feature over the Peter Moody-trained Lights Of Heaven ($9.50) with German import Mawingo ($5) a further 3 lengths away third.
Sharrock conceded he was unsure if Shez Sinsational had prevailed in the photo. "I was in the betting ring and one bloke said to me I had won and the other said a few other words.
"I thought she had got crushed right on the line."
Her win was a triumph for jockey Opie Bosson who arrived on the morning of the race from Singapore.
Sharrock brought Shez Sinsational to Queensland for three weight-for-age races and has decided against starting in the Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 9.
"She'll run next in the Doomben Cup then the O'Shea Stakes [Eagle Farm Cup], but she won't stay on for the Brisbane Cup," he said.
"She'd get too much weight in a handicap like the Brisbane Cup but I haven't ruled out the Melbourne Cup for her."
Sharrock was a little concerned Bosson might have taken off too soon on the daughter of Ekraar.
"The last thing I said to Opie was don't go too soon," Sharrock said.
"He went too soon on her one day in New Zealand but we decided today to ride her more forward as there was no point getting too far back on the heavy track."
It was Bosson's fifth win on the four-year-old in 11 starts.
He also was aboard when Shez Sinsational crossed the Tasman last winter to finish third to Scarlett Lady in the Queensland Oaks and second to Shootoff in the Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm.
Since then she has won three times at group one level: the Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, International Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa in February and the Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie in March.
Jockey Luke Nolen felt Lights Of Heaven, who failed in the Queen Of The Turf at her previous start at Rosehill, was in a winning position on the home turn.
"I was coming late but her run ended about 50m from the line and I didn't think she had got there," Nolen said.
Trainer Anthony Freedman believed Mawingo wasn't suited on the heavy track. "He was off his game out there. Maybe Brisbane can get some fine weather sometime soon," he said.
A masterful ride from Jim Cassidy put Sydney filly Scorpio Queen into Queensland Oaks contention next month with a narrow victory in the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet.
Cassidy defied the trend of other riders skirting wide on the heavy track by taking the quickest way home along the rails on the daughter of Choisir in the 1800m feature.
His quick thinking enabled Scorpio Queen ($7) to hold off the fast-finishing Secret Garden ($13) to score by a head with Anagold ($61) a further three-quarters of a length third.
New Zealand Oaks winner Miss Artistic ($6) produced a superb trial for the Group One Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 2 finishing fourth, only 2 lengths from the winner.
The filly's part-owner Steve Kirkham confirmed Scorpio Queen would take the traditional route to the Queensland Oaks via the group three Roses (2000m) at Doomben in a fortnight.
Kirkham paid $100,000 for Scorpio Queen as a yearling at the Magic Millions sales hoping she would turn out to be a stayer.
"Her half-sister ran fourth in a VRC Oaks," Kirkham said. Cassidy believed the decision not to go wide was the difference before winning and losing. "I went back to the fence because it was pretty chopped up out wide. It was a good tidy win and she's got a lot of upside."
Connections of Miss Artistic were delighted with her effort to finish fourth.
Trainer Shaune Ritchie had concerns before the race that the daughter of Darci Brahma was a run short.
Jockey Chris Munce said Miss Artistic, who was having her first start since claiming the group one New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham in mid-March, would improve greatly after the run.
"She had had enough at the finish but it was a good run and you couldn't be critical of it," Munce said.