Robert Smerdon-trained The Bowler stuck his neck out at the right time to record a narrow victory in a thrilling edition of the 2015 R A Lee Stakes at Morphettville this afternoon.
Dylanson was a big drifter in the lead-up to the R A Lee Stakes, but Claire Lindop elected to ride the City Of Adelaide Stakes winner aggressively in the early stages of the race, while the likes of Our Ivanhowe, Gris Caro and The Bowler were all settled towards the tail of the field.
Dylanson looked like a sitting duck with 300 metres left on the inside as a number of his rivals loomed on the outside, but the Dylan Thomas gelding continued to battle and at the 50 metre mark Excites Zelady, Metaphorical, Dylanson, The Bowler and Text’N Hurley all looked like winning chances.
The Bowler got out to $15 in live betting for the R A Lee Stakes after starting the race as a $3.10 favourite, but the Testa Rossa gelding was able to find something extra in the final stages and he got his neck in front at the line to record a maiden win at Group level.
The Robert Smerdon-trained galloper has shown a great deal of ability since he made his racing debut with a second place finish behind Kuroshio in the 2013 edition of the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m), but he has finally started to deliver on his potential this preparation.
The Bowler returned to winning form in the Willamstown Handicap (1400m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day and he finished a close third in the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 10 before he recorded back-to-back wins at Moonee Valley on February 27 and Bendigo on March 21.
His winning streak came to an end at the hands of Silverball in the Ross Stevenson Trophy (1600m) at Flemington on April 11 before he returned to winning form in the Peter Armytage Handicap (1700m) at the same venue on ANZAC Day and took out the R A Lee Stakes this afternoon.
Two-time German Group 1 winner Our Ivanhowe was a big drifter in betting in the lead-up to the R A Lee Stakes and he made up a bit of ground late after being settled at the tail of the field, but was never able to get into the finish in his Australian racing debut.
Our Ivanhowe is likely to return to the spelling paddock before he starts preparations for his spring campaign that could include starts in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) or Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).