Harlem found the best part of the Flemington track to record an upset win in the 2018 Australian Cup at Flemington this afternoon.
Gailo Chop started the race as a clear favourite and he looked like he had the race won when he hit the front at the 300 metre mark, but Michael Walker managed to sneak up the inside with Harlem and the imported galloper savaged the line in the final stages of the race.
The inside rail has been the place to be at Flemington all afternoon and Walker revealed after the race that he was always desperate to find the best part of the track.
“The way that the races have played out today, closer to the fence has been lightning,” Walker said.
“I had a beautiful run the whole way, I was inside the favourite and when he took off my horse actually tried to go with him, but I had no way to go and I had to slow him down.
“I was always confident during the race and it was just a matter of getting a gap.
“When I got it, he just put them away.
“The Lindsay Park team had him spot-on today and ready to run a race.”
Harlem has struggled for consistency since arriving in Australia and co-trainer David Hayes was clearly delighted that the imported galloper was able to deliver on his potential in the 2018 Australian Cup.
Hayes said that Harlem – along with third placegetter Ventura Storm – will now head to Sydney and the Tancred Stakes (formerly known as The BMW) will be his major target.
“His first-up run was comparable to Gailo Chop’s, but he had a little bit of a cold between run,” Hayes said.
“Michael Walker was just outstanding – he found the fast track and he got the money.
“He is off to Sydney – we brought him as a stayer, but when he was a colt and it go tough he wouldn’t really let go at the finish.
“He let down well today and he ran past an in-form Gailo Chop.
“In a normal year without Winx they would be Queen Elizabeth Stakes horses, but I think that the Tancred is our go.”
Gailo Chop was not disgraced in second, while Ventura Storm returned to his best form with a third place finish.