Fuschsia Bandana has earned another crack at the Railway Stakes (1600m) and Kingston Town Classic (1800m) with her brilliant all-the-way win at her first start over 2000m in today’s $150,000 Strickland Stakes (2000m).
The daughter of Trade Fair’s efforts as a fledgling four-year-old to finish fifth to Elite Belle and Moriarty in the Group 1 double were full of merit last year.
Jarrad Noske elected to take the race up to his rivals letting Fuchsia Bandana slide to the front from her inside gate and dictate her own terms.
Noske had used similar tactics to pull off the Hyperion Stakes (1600m) at her previous start a fortnight ago.
He gave Fuchsia Bandana a “breather” midway and it could have been the trick that trumped the race.
Balmont Girl, who was the runner-up in the Railway, unleashed a determined charge down the home stretch to challenge Fuchsia Bandana before the post with the pair locked in a desperate head-bobbing climax to the weight-for-age Group 3 feature.
Judges had to call for the photo-finish print to split the dueling mares before the margin of a nose was semaphored.
The well supported $3.20 equal favourite Tower Of Lonhro was being hassled along by apprentice Joseph Azzopardi at the 700m and finished off well but was never a threat to the winner.
Rank outsider Silver Plated ($81) gave a top effort despite being outclassed after chasing Fuchsia Bandana for most of the journey to hold fourth place 2-1/4 lengths behind.
Punters rallied for Fuchsia Bandana late to see her price fluctuate from $3.10, $3.40 into $3.20 equal favouritism.
There was late support for Balmont Girl with her price firming from $4.40 into $4.20.
There was also money for WA Cup (3200m) winner Ask Me Nicely ($18 into $12) who continues to perform consistently, finishing fifth.
With trainer Darren McAuliffe still away on a European holiday his father Brian again stood in for his son.
“She is a year older now,” McAuliffe said. “She’ll go to the paddock now and have a nice spell.
“She worked with Savanarola at Lark Hill on Tuesday and her work was really well.
“She will be back for the same races in the Railway Stakes and Kingston Town Classic.
“I think she will be a better mare next season because she is a lot stronger now.
“She was unlucky at her first couple of starts this campaign but she has finished it off really good.”
Fuchsia Bandana was placed third first up to Luckygray in the Roma Cup (1200m) on May 16 before finishing third to Shining Knight in the Belmont Sprint (1400m).
Today’s win was the chestnut mare’s third at Group 3 level taking her stakes to $624,715.
Savanarola, ridden by apprentice Jordan Turner, gave the Serpentine stable a double when he defied a four-kilo rise in weight to 57kg to land a Belmont hat-trick in the Magic Millions Handicap (2200m).
Kalgoorlie Cup winning jockey Eddie Creighton was transferred to a Melbourne hospital after a fall in the first race at Warrnambool.
Creighton was reported to have broken his arm and was thought to have concussion but his health deteriorated at Warrnambool-based hospital.
Creighton fell from The Walrus when the horse knuckled slightly at the 300m in the first race.
He was conscious when driven to hospital.