Flemington: Romancer shocks at $126 in the Straight Six

Romancer went to Flemington making up the numbers – using the Listed Straight Six (1200m) as a “come on run” – and left with a deserved, albeit surprise, feature win at Headquarters.

The $126 rank outsider defied more than market expectations, with his trainer, jockey and owners, including OTI Racing boss Terry Henderson, gobsmacked about the result.

Grahame Begg-trained Romancer incredibly looked the winner a long way out, sprinting clear of the field when apprentice jockey Lachlan Neindorf put the seven-year-old gelding in clear air.

“He was just in it for a little bit of a fitness gallop,” Niendorf said.

“I just wanted to drop him out the barriers, find a bum and produce him late and hopefully we see him hitting the line.”

The Straight Six gave South Australian-bred Neindorf his second Listed victory after winning the Hills Railway Stakes at Oakbank last year.

“That’s my first winner at Flemington, I’ll take it in a Listed race,” Neindorf said.

Despite earning a spot in the All Victorian Sprint Final (1200m), with the win, Begg will forge ahead with the original plan to target the Winter Championships Final (1600m) on July 3 at Flemington.

Romancer defied his price to win the Straight Six. Picture: Vince Caligiuri/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“I said to Lachie to keep him travelling well within himself,” Begg said.

“You’ve just got to ride him like today is not his day but let him hit the line.

“When he eased around their heels about the 350 (metre mark) I said ‘sit sit sit’ and then he got that length on them and kept going.”

Despite the price, which “the boss”, Begg’s wife Sue had “something small” on it, the trainer went into the Straight Six hopeful of a better than $126 performance after a nice jumpout last Tuesday.

“Funnily enough, my wife said to me last night ‘I don’t think you’ve ever had a horse go around at 150-1’, I had one early that was a long price but I thought this horse was over the odds,” Begg said.

“He’s got a very good Flemington record but over a bit further.

“I just thought it was going to be too sharp the 1200 for him today. He’s better at 1400 and 1600 metres but he’s a grand old horse because he goes to the races and puts in every time.”

Begg kept cards close to his chest when asked about placing a bet on Romancer.

“I think the boss might have had something on it each-way,” Begg said with a grin.

Double celebration for Hefel

Good luck wiping the smile off apprentice jockey Carleen Hefel’s face after a day of Flemington firsts.

After posting a first Flemington winner, a last-to-first success aboard Standoff in the first race, Hefel, with her only other ride bookended the card when Don’t Doubt Dory claimed the last.

The double capped a memorable month for the 31-year-old, who recorded her first Saturday city winner at Sandown on May 1.

“That win there means a lot more,” Hefel said after Julien Welch-trained Don’t Doubt Dory’s win.

“You do all the work on the horse and especially for Julien. It makes the win a lot more special.”

Carleen Hefel ended the day with a double after winning at Flemington for the first time. Picture: Vince Caligiuri/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Don’t Doubt Dory was a sitting duck – tracking wide and on speed – but the Fiorente gelding booted strongly in the straight to hold out the fast-finishing Maserartie Bay and Lunar Flare.

“He’s a beautiful ride and today he was the most switched on in a race he’s ever been – the best he’s felt,” Hefel said.

“He’s a pretty tough horse. He can feel them coming and he puts his ears back and he keeps digging in.”

Don’t Doubt Dory also doubled as Welsh’s first Flemington winner.

“Terrific ride, too, from Carleen,” Welsh said.

“She’s my apprentice and I couldn’t be happier with her.

“She’s ridden a double today at Flemington and made me really proud.

“As well as the horse winning, with her winning that is fantastic.”

Originally published as$126 roughie delivers Flemington shock

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