An oldie but a goodie - when a top class racehorse can't win, it finds a way to win.

For that read Scott Base, winner by a lip of Saturday's Wellington Guineas at Trentham.

Be honest, if you backed Scott Base you didn't think you'd won, even as they flashed across the finish line.

Right on the line rider Vinnie Colgan wasn't sure either, but he wasn't worried - he knew if he finished second he would get the race in the inquiry room. Second-placed Paulownia, on the outside of the two, lay in on top of Scott Base for 300m of the home straight, the pair finishing three to four horse widths closer to the inside rail than where they were at the 300m. Paulownia's rider Michael McNab was fined $500 and suspended for 12 racedays for causing the interference.


"All I had to worry about was making sure I beat those horses just inside me (Great Southern, Czechoslovakia, Swisswatch)," said Colgan. "I wasn't certain we'd won, but I knew it was very close." It was a terrific effort by Scott Base, who was racing at 1400m when he had undergone a 2400m preparation for the Derby, which, as has been well documented, was aborted because of a bruised heel. The slight effect of that showed when Scott Base raced flat footed for several strides at the 370m when asked to sprint by Colgan.

"It took a few strides to get into gear, but once he got going he continued to wind into his work."

Paulownia missed out this time, but she is one of the country's most exciting prospects. To do what she did Saturday on a one-race, one-win preparation says she is a Group 1 winner waiting to happen. On type, she is a magnificent specimen and races in the Coolmore colours.

If Colgan's luck was all good in the first half of the programme it deserted him when he thought he had a great chance of picking up the Oaks on Belle du Nord, a Group 1 won in outstanding fashion by Savvy Coup.

"I thought on her lead-up racing Belle du Nord was a great chance of taking the Oaks," said Colgan.

"She got held up slightly coming around the home turn, but she got out in plenty of time and did nothing. That surprised me because each time down the back when I'd give her a click to improve a fraction she came up under me beautifully, but in the last 400m she didn't sprint at all."

This was a no-argument win - Savvy Coup was clearly superior. If she'd been beaten there would have been excuses - she was travelling so keenly at the 700m Chris Johnson pulled her three and four wide to avoid clipping a heel. Despite covering that extra ground she was in one race from the 250m and the rest were in another.

There is every intention of Savvy Coup now being flown to Sydney for the Australian Oaks next month and if you think that might be a bridge too far, for all the racing Savvy Coup has had she pulled up remarkably fresh, a great tribute to trainers Michael and Matt Pitman. She is another example of what a wonderful stallion Savabeel has developed into.

The toughness of Zabeel comes through in this filly. How many winners this season alone have come from the cross of Savabeel over a Pins mare? Contessa Vanessa was brave in finishing second and Milseain showed her potential with third.

Those who support the theory fillies and mares with large ears need special attention got pleasure out of Hinerangi making it three straight in Thee Auld Floozie Premier. She may not have finished her run yet.