The well supported The Bowler made the punters cheer hard before scoring a narrow win in the Group 3 $150,000 Hughes Chauffeured Limousines R A Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville today.
Mark Zahra gave The Bowler ($2.80 favourite) the perfect run, saving ground on the fence before easing out on the home turn to slice in between runners half way down the straight.
The Bowler then looked to be struggling but Zahra was able to life the Robert Smerdon trained gelding to grab a tough nose victory over one of the outsiders of the field Excites Zelady ($41) with another nose to third placegetter Metaphorical ($6).
Expensive German import Our Ivanhowe ($3.50) was also well supported in the ring but after setting near the tail of the field for Damien Oliver, tried to circle the field from the 600m but found wanting in the straight and never looked like threatening to only beat a couple of runners home.
The Bowler came to Morphettvile with some pretty handy Flemington form and after running third in a 1600m Handicap on April 11 was able to win an Open Handicap over 1700m on a heavy track.
Zahra took over the reins today from the injured Nick Hall but the top Melbourne jockey had already set up a good association with The Bowler, winning on him three times in January, February and March with wins at Flemington, Moonee Valley and Bendigo.
2015 R A Lee Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||7||THE BOWLER||Robert Smerdon||Mark Zahra||–||4||55kg||$2.80F|
|2||5||EXCITES ZELADY||Chris Bieg||Paul Gatt||0.1L||11||55.5kg||$41|
|3||12||METAPHORICAL||Peter G Moody||Glen Boss||0.3L||2||54kg||$6|
|4||3||DYLANSON||Phillip Stokes||Clare Lindop||1.1L||9||56kg||$5.50|
|5||4||TEXT’N HURLEY||Marilyn Smith||Craig Williams||1.2L||3||55.5kg||$26|
|6||11||QADIR||David Jolly||Jason Holder||1.8L||12||55kg||$20|
|7||8||SAINT OR SINNER (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Dom Tourneur||3L||7||55kg||$15|
|7||1||OUR IVANHOWE (GER)||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Damien Oliver||3L||8||60kg||$3.50|
|9||10||FLOW METER||John Hickmott||Ronnie Stewart||3L||6||55kg||$101|
|10||13||JAPHILS||John Sadler||Dean Yendall||3.4L||1||54kg||$11|
|11||2||GRIS CARO (GB)||Jake Stephens||Ben Melham||5.6L||10||56.5kg||$17|
|12||6||RIVER’S LANE||Ryan Balfour||Joe Bowditch||6.7L||5||55.5kg||$41|
|–||9||TRISTRAM’S SUN (NZ)||Robbie Laing||Jarrod Todd||–||0||–||–|