Lightly-raced Sabatini upset the well-backed Royal Snitzel to win the 2014 Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield this afternoon.
Sabatini was having just her third race start after finishing second in the First Light Racing Bonus (1000m) at Bendigo on July 24 and the Hindsight Club Raceday Maiden (1100m) at the same venue a fortnight later and started at lengthy odds in the Quezette Stakes.
The daughter of Street Cry was settled at the tail of the field by Nick Hall in the early stages of the race and he rode the three-year-old patiently throughout, while Sunset Rock and Novel Dancer made sure that the race was run at quick tempo.
Mick Price-trained Royal Snitzel hit the front when asked for an extra effort by jockey Dale Smith and looked the winner, but Sabatini showed an impressive turn-of-foot to storm home late and record a narrow win in the Quezette Stakes.
Trainer Lee Hope admitted that he expected Sabatini to settle a lot closer to the speed than she did in the early stages of the race, but was delighted that everything panned out and thrilled to win at Group race at the start of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
“The way things panned out it was a great ride, but I honestly thought that she would be in the first four,” Hope said.
“She is fit and well and she may be just flying under the radar a little bit.
“She is bred to get a mile and maybe a little bit further, but I was a little bit upset that Michelle wasn’t able to ride him because she would have been on her today.
“Nick got the job done and we will just see how she pulls.”
Royal Snitzel lost no admirers with another quality performance, while Shea Eden-trained Novel Dancer was arguably the run of the race after he battled on for third, despite being caught three wide in the early stages of the race.