Harness racing owner Kevin Riseley confirmed last week that Lennytheshark is out of Breeders Crown contention this year, owners preferring to give the classy four-year-old a spell before chasing summer riches.
But Riseley and fellow connections of two-year-old Bettors Delight colt Kept Under Wraps have a serious live Crown chance after the Brent Lilley-trained youngster upstaged boom Sydneysider Birdy Mach in the $50,505 Garrards Horse and Hound Tatlow Stakes for colts and geldings at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night.
Kept Under Wraps, driven by Greg Sugars, raced one-out, one-back for the bulk of the journey while Birdy Mach ran along in front for Todd McCarthy in the 2240m race.
The Sydney colt, which started $1.60 favourite after two blistering wins to start its career at Menangle, found the lead easily early with no one willing to challenge.
This allowed last-start Vicbred Super Series winner Feeling Arty to dash to the death chair for Cameron Maggs, which gave the eventual winner cover in the running line.
When Birdy Mach pinched a 10m lead coming off the back straight Sugars sent Kept Under Wraps out after him, while Iceobar, from the Brent Lilley yard with Mark Purdon in the spider, followed into the race stylishly.
In the straight Birdy Mach led, Iceobar used the sprint lane and Kept Under Wraps came down the outside.
Birdy Mach kept on kicking but Kept Under Wraps had more in the tank and nailed the early leader on the line to win by 1.1m, while Iceobar was a further 3.5m away in third place.
The winning mile rate was 1:57.1 with a fourth quarter of 29.3secs and a last half of 58.3.
Kept Under Wraps now boasts four wins from six starts.
Kept Under Wraps
The $50,505 Group 2 fillies’ Tatlow Stakes went to New Zealand star Katy Perry, who scored by 2.5m over Michael Stanley-trained Soho Tokyo, while Read About Lexy was third for Bernie Hewitt.
Katy Perry, who started from the back row, whipped around the field early for reinsman Dexter Dunn before taking the lead and holding off all comers late.
Katy Perry clocked a winning mile rate of 1:59.4 with a last half of 57.2.
Earlier on the program Messini continued his dominance of the Victorian three-year-old ranks with a 5.5m win over Epaulette in the A Rocknroll Dance The Graduate.
Despite starting from gate 13, Chris Alford guided the Brent Lilley-trained son of Art Major home in a mile rate of 1:56.5.
Bettor Rock On remained unbeaten in five Australian runs with victory in Race 8, the Yeomans Slate and Stone Winter Championship Final for in-form father-son combo Ross and Greg Sugars.
Bettor Rock On scored by 3.5m over the 1720m trip in a rate of 1:54.4 (last half 56.2) to defeat Essbee Doubleyou in second and Tandias Bromac in third.
by Cody Winnell
Harness Racing Victoria