Sebring Just Short of Third Group I

Well, he was just a half-inch shy of racing into Australian equine immortality, but Sebring’s effort for second in the mile group I Champagne Stakes at Royal Randwick May 3 was highly commendable.

The champion 2-year-old was having his third group I race in 14 days – he had won the world’s richest 2-year-old race, the AAMI Golden Slipper, over 6 furlongs, and then last Saturday backed up to win the 7 furlong group I Sires’ Produce Stakes before stepping up yet again at the mile here.

And he led the field until the final bound, being nabbed on the wire by the impeccably bred Samantha Miss (Redoute’s Choice--Millyet), who was ridden by Hugh Bowman for trainer Kris Lees.

Their final furlong dogfight was worth going a long way to see.

Samantha Miss had a group I-placing behind Sebring last week to her impressive pedigree credit – now though, she’s worth an absolute mint as a broodmare and racing prospect.

“She’s a 3-year-old for sure, I’ve believed that from the time I saw her as a yearling so everything she is doing now is a bonus,” beamed her trainer Lees.

“It was just such a gutsy run,” said her rider Bowman. “I knew that if I could just get on terms with him with say half a furlong to go that she would out battle him and that’s exactly what happened.”

Sebring led from barrier rise with Samantha Miss parked right behind him. They dominated over the final two furlongs and deserved the bulk of the $500,000 purse.

Glowlamp (Encosta de Lago--Push A Venture), a perennial stakes place getter who has yet to win a race from six outings, let alone a stakes race, ran on very strongly from worse than midfield for third.
“The top pair were too good but she worked home really well and should make into a beautiful 3-yeare-old,” said rider Peter Robl.

The heavily backed All American was trapped deep throughout and didn’t fire, seemingly unsuited by the distance. He weakened to finish last of the eight.

Samantha Miss cost owner Ron Croghan, a longtime fan and supporter of the Lees stable for more than 25 years, $1.5million as a yearling. From her five starts to date she has won two and earned $402,500.

She and Sebring (More Than Ready--Purespeed) ran 1.38.25 on the damp turf track for the mile.

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