Three-year-old trotting filly Copacabana registered the second win of her career to date with the narrowest of wins in her heat of the Sweetheart Trot Series at Maryborough on Monday afternoon.
The daughter of Andover Hall and Broadacrossthebeam enjoyed a lovely trail on the back of the early leader Majestic Jewel and when asked for an effort by driver Greg Sugars in the home straight she darted through on the sprint-lane to prevail by a short-half-head over Elegant Jet with La Serena filling third.
The win was not without its dramas however, and the driver of the fourth placed horse Double Dot asked stewards to determine whether Copacabana had gained an unfair advantage at the start before declaring all-clear.
As Sugars explained after the race “The number one horse on the front line galloped in the early part of the score-up and so when I trailed up on the inside of the second row I didn’t have a runner to follow. Lola began really quickly and was able to punch through onto the back of the leader and Mr White obviously thought I may have actually been occupying a front line position when the starter said go. I was always confident that I was behind the horse in two’s wheel when we went.”
Raced by the Cranbourne Club 21 group, Copacabana has been a model of consistency this time in having recorded two wins and two placings from five starts this season. The filly now takes on a nice field of predominantly older horses in the $14,000 Sweetheart Final at Melton on Saturday night and Sugars is upbeat about her prospects.
“Obviously she will now have to contend with some really nice mares who have come through the faster class division of the Series but she should draw well and should be competitive if she can settle near the lead,” Sugars said.
The Club 21 group of owners was also represented by Naked Ambition in the NR52-66 division of the Sweetheart but the mare could only finish fifth after being held up in a muddling-run race and only seeing clear air over the final 150 metres.
Trainer Dylan Stratford was philosophical after the race. “I was sure there would be a genuine tempo to the race and so we planned to take cover from a wide draw and then come with one run in the same way she had at Ballarat (when third). But the leaders walked and nothing really put any speed into the race until it was virtually all over.”
“I’m thinking about qualifying her from the standing start just to give us some wider options in the weeks ahead,” Stratford said. “The mares get a 10 metre lift in the stands but don’t really get the same benefit under mobile conditions and so we will look at that as a possibility in the short term.”
By David Scott