TO win a Group One is always a great feat – to win two, with the same horse, is something extra special.
So high-profile breeder Paul Kahlfeldt as well as the “gun” training-driving partnership of Belinda and Luke McCarthy felt like they had climbed the mountain when three-year-old Art Major gelding Lettucerockthem took out Sunday’s $100,000 Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge three-year-old colts and geldings’ final at Tabcorp Park Menangle.
Reinsman Luke, who speared to the front from gate nine and led all the way to win, later explained that connections had always had a high opinion of Lettucerockthem and now most harness racing fans would know why.
“He had a bit of a gut buster first-up from a spell and that seemed to really set him back a bit,” McCarthy said.
“After that it took us a while to get him back to his best. We’ve got him right again now and he showed today what he could do with that terrific effort.”
Lettucerockthem had his main danger, Theartofconfusion ($2.80 favourite), stuck outside him and there he stayed until he began to give ground on the home turn, fading to finish ninth.
It was left to El Fuego (Josh Willick) to chase Lettucerockthem down, finishing 7.9m away in second spot, with Ideal Legacy (Bruce Birch) third in a 1:59.3 mile rate, with the last half run in a slashing 54 seconds.
Luke said races like next year’s Chariots Of Fire and, the following year, the Miracle Mile were likely long-term targets for Lettucerockthem.