By Nicholas Godfrey
Flemington: Australian Guineas G1 A$1m (£550,000) 1m, turf, 3yo
Lunar Fox (Paul Preusker/Michael Dee)
There are shock results, and then there are shock results. In a triumph described as “surreal” by his connections, Lunar Fox became one of the longest-priced G1 winners of all time anywhere in the world with a 300-1 victory in the Australian Guineas at Flemington.
“I can’t believe it – it hasn’t sunk it,” said jockey Michael Dee after landing his fifth G1 success. “To be honest, I didn’t give him much hope and no one else really did either! It’s obviously a massive thrill and I can’t believe it has just happened.”
Australian sources were left racking their brains to find an equivalent – but all were agreed this was certainly the biggest price to succeed at the top level for at least 35 years, going back to 250-1 winner Abaridy in the Caulfield Guineas of 1986.
Blinkers seemed to make a profound difference to Lunar Fox, who had come 12th of 14 on his previous outing in the G3 CS Hayes Stakes at the same venue just two weeks ago.
The son of Foxwedge wore down front-running favourite Tagaloa in the closing stages and the line came just soon enough to deny Cherry Tortoni, who flew home from the rear, by a half-length.
Trainer’s representative Holly McKechnie was queried by Racing Victoria stewards about the horse’s improvement.
Shall we talk about it?
Michael Dee (jockey): “All I could do today was do my job and do it to the best of my ability and hopefully the horse ran well in doing so. Having the blinkers on today and just a massive improvement. They drilled it into me before the race to stay off the fence. From the gate we were able to get the perfect run three-wide and work into it.”
Holly McKechnie (representing trainer Paul Preusker): “It’s a bit surreal at this stage. I can’t believe it. He’s always had a lot of ability, this horse. Obviously last start he ran below par and we couldn’t really find any issue. We’ve done the old trick with the blinkers and it seems to have done the job. Last time was just out of character. He’s always trying this horse. Getting to the outside and the additions of blinkers certainly helped him.”