A fluke is defined as “an unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck”.
So one could mount an argument that to pinch a win over a highly rated opponent in horse racing is a fluke, but to do it twice in two starts? Not so much.
Kept Under Wraps is no longer the hunter in his mini-rivalry against Birdy Mach – he has to be hunted by virtue of his two-from-two record against the highly rated New South Welsh colt.
The colt by Bettors Delight in the care of Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley took out the 11th heat of the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for two-year-old colts and geldings at Shepparton last night with a blistering fourth quarter of 26.8 seconds.
Birdy Mach ($1.50) and reinsman Luke McCarthy pinged off the arm to find the lead early from the 2190-metre start with Kept Under Wraps ($2.70) straight on to his back for in-form Greg Sugars.
Kate Gath took the third favourite Burnaholeinmypocket ($13.60) to the breeze from gate seven, the trio jogtrotting through the middle stages of the race to make it near impossible for the backmarkers to make late ground.
With a third quarter of 30.5 seconds after earlier splits of 31.4 and 32.1 it was always going to be hard to topple Birdy Mach in the straight, but once Kept Under Wraps gained the sprint lane in the home stretch his withering burst of speed carried him over the line first.
The final margin of a half-head was closer than when Kept Under Wraps defeated Birdy Mach in the Tatlow Stakes (1.1m) the start prior.
Burnaholeinmypocket battled on gamely for third.
Lilley admitted Birdy Mach might still be a little bit green and said that horse lacked nothing in the ability stakes before heaping praise on his fella.
“Last night to come home with a really quick last quarter like that was a pleasant surprise,” he said.
“He’s really come along nicely in the time I’ve had him down here.”
Lilley said leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon was likely to take Kept Under Wraps and Messini, who Lilley has also enjoyed immense success with of late, back for the Breeders Crown semi-finals and finals next month.
“I’ve definitely enjoyed having them here, that’s for sure,” Lilley said.
Lilley used to work for Purdon in New Zealand before starting his own training operation at Kaiapoi, near Christchurch.
“The relationship with Mark goes back a long way,” Lilley said.
“I worked for him when he started out about 15 years ago, then I went out on my own and I’d work a fair few horses on the beach.
“Mark would send some down to me that were suited to beach work and he actually sent me a really good horse in Cool Hand Luke (16 wins from 36 starts).”
Lilley puts the polish on Messini tomorrow night at Bendigo in heat nine of the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown three-year-old colts geldings series.
Messini has won four races on the trot – including an 8.8m success in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final two starts back.
Meanwhile, Scott Stewart trained-and-driven Its Just Kenny made it two wins from two starts with a 3.4m win in the 10th heat of the two-year-old males’ Breeders Crown series last night, the Kenneth J gelding going 1:59.8 to defeat Mojo Major by 3.4m.
The other heat winner was Show Me The Bling, who defeated Mach Doro by 1.4m in a fast rate of 1:58.4 (last half 56.9).
Show Me The Bling is trained by David Aiken and was steered by Nathan Jack.
By Cody Winnell
Harness Racing Victoria