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Feature sprint goes right to the wire

26 December 2017, 6:08 p.m.

A thrilling finish to the Listed Hallmark Stud Handicap (1200m) saw the Ellerslie judge take an eternity before declaring Savile Row the narrowest of winners.

Just as Passing Shot looked like he had done enough to snatch a gritty victory, the Mike Moroney and Pam Gerard trained Savile Row arrived from the clouds, along with race favourite Chambord, to force a three-way photo for the final decision.

Savile Row (Blue Cap) Photo: Trish Dunell

Several minutes passed before Savile Row got the nod by the barest of noses from Passing Shot with Chambord a half head away in third.

Co-trainer Mike Moroney, back from Australia for the meeting, was delighted to see the Makfi four-year-old find his best form after a disappointing three-start spring campaign in Australia. Sent home after finishing well back at Caulfield in late October, Savile Row was having his first start, after a brief let-up, in the Ellerslie event.

“His manners weren’t very good in Australia and we just couldn’t work out why he raced so badly,” he said.

“It was just the way they ran their races that saw him pulling hard and over-racing. We tried a few things to settle him down, but it didn’t work, however I do think he’s a far wiser horse now for having had that Australian trip.

“He’s far more relaxed than he was as a three-year-old.”

Despite the victory over 1200 metres, Moroney is not convinced that the horse is primarily suited to sprint distances.

“I don’t know about that,” he said when questioned about the horse as a pure sprinter.

“We’re heading towards the Thorndon Mile as his main aim, but it’s good to see he has enough dash to win a 1200 metre race.

“He’s been beaten a nose in mile and mile and a quarter races so we’re pretty sure he can get those sorts of distances.” – NZ Racing Desk